I could sit here and write pages upon pages of how awesome my dad is, resurrecting stories from the past that could have anyone doubled over in fits of laughter. Quite frankly, it would probably be easier to do just that, rather than keep this short and sweet, which is precisely what my dad would prefer.
Let's be honest. My dad and I may not always see eye to eye on everything, we certainly have had our fair share of arguments, and there have definitely been a couple of times when I've been so frustrated with him that you could almost see the steam coming out of my ears. Isn't that how it goes with someone you love? You take the good with the bad and the bad with the good. It's the people you love the most that are capable of evoking your innermost emotions.'
In many ways, my dad resembles the fathers Hollywood creates in its wholesome family movies and tv series (remember Tim Allen from Home Improvement?!), but in many more ways, my dad is far superior. In my younger years, he was the head softball coach for both my sister and I for years on end. He never once missed a game - even if it meant an IV machine came in tow when he was released from the hospital (true story!). As I grew up and older and entered the dating scene - most father's worst nightmares - my dad played it cool. He trusted my judgment in boys and was never overbearing or intimidating. (Thanks, Dad!). My dad rarely raised his voice -probably because most of the time he couldn't keep a straight face when disciplining my younger sister (which to this day still bemuses my mom). Despite this, we always knew when my dad meant business.
My absolute favorite example of this was when my sister and I were still living at home. It was your typical January in Jersey - frigid and snowy. It was six or seven am and a pretty severe ice storm had just made its way through town, so undoubtedly my sister and I were still fast asleep, only to be woken up by my dad bellowing from the back door, "Courtney! Ashley! Wake up! This isn't college! Get up and help your mother shovel!!!!" This was pretty routine in a household where sleeping in translates to wasting your day away. However, this wasn't a typical shovel snow request (read: demand) my dad was making, it was a request (again, read: demand) to shovel ice. Begrudgingly, Ashley and I got out bed, cursing a blue streak as we bundled up and wondered if other parents made their twenty something year old daughters get up at ungodly hours to shovel *ICE*. To make matters worse, our dad was abandoning us to help the post office put snow chains on their mail truck tires. So while my dad was out being a good Samaritan, Ashley and I chipped and cursed our way through the 2 inch layer of ice that had glazed our driveway. After several hours of extreme physical labor (think I'm exaggerating? You go "shovel" ice), our dad finally rolls up to the driveway. I'm pretty sure an intense screaming match was about to go down, until we saw my dad waltz around the front of the car carrying two piping hot cocoas and a bag of donuts for us. Needless to say, Ashley and I bit our tongues and graciously accepted the hot drinks and my dad's gratitude for us helping out. Even though I chose not to understand it back then, I am now mature enough to admit to the lessons my dad instilled on us that day and dozens of times over again:
Take responsibility and don't expect other people to do your work for you. Lend a helping hand without being asked to. Work hard and play hard.
The unspoken lessons didn't start or stop there. Over the years, especially the more recent ones, my dad and I have grown closer on a more emotional level. Maybe it's because of all of our bonding over Monday Night Football, Dancing with the Stars (that's right, my dad is the one who got me hooked -- a fact that I gushed to Maxim upon meeting him in LA), or NatGeo Wild. Maybe it's because of the times when my mom puts my dad on babysitting duty during family vacays and he's stuck indoors with me, because I'm so sunburned. Whatever the reason, I am so grateful for our present day bond and our ability to have a heart to heart. Whether he knows it or not, my dad is the person who has taught me to make the best of every situation, to be patient and kind, and most importantly make the most of the cards you've been handed and let go of the things that won't matter in the long run.
Happy Father's Day, Tookus (a term coined by the one and only Miriam T. Khan).
PS. Molly and Mia are so thankful that you're their pack leader ;)