Today is my dad’s 70th birthday! And I’ll be honest, it’s not always easy to get him gifts. I know he tells me that he doesn’t need gifts (and really, no one needs gifts). But that’s why they’re gifts. They’re given because you want to give them.
So although I have already given my dad his birthday gifts, today’s blog serves as a “surprise gift” for him — a top 10 list of reasons why I love my Daddy. (And yes, I still call him Daddy).
- He’s affectionate. My dad did not grow up in a home where affection was abundant. But, that didn’t stop him (and my mom) from creating a home where showing affection was (and still is) the norm. My dad is still affectionate with me and incredibly affectionate with my son.
- He’s hard-working. I remember my dad working a lot when I was a kid. I remember the middle of the night phone calls (he worked for the phone company). I remember the business trips. But I don’t ever remember my dad complaining a whole lot about it (except for the middle of the night phone calls). He had a job to do. He did it to the best of his ability. I watched, and I learned to do that too.
- He’s mischievous. As my dad has gotten older, and is no longer working full-time, he’s gotten sillier. He’s not shy about letting strangers know that before he met my mom he didn’t have any gray hair.
- He’s in love with my mom. My parents will be celebrating their 41st wedding anniversary next month. And my dad remains very much in love with my mom. It’s clear in the way he holds her hand. In the way he reaches for her tush as she walks by. In the way he looks at her.
- He always kept us safe. I always had faith in my dad’s ability to keep us safe. He was our family’s designated driver during our family trips, and I knew he’d get us where we were supposed to be, and get us safely back home.
- He was a willing travel partner. During high school and my early college years, I became increasingly eager to travel. There were a couple of things holding me back though, including a lack of finances, a lack of transportation, and a lack of self-confidence to do it all by myself. That’s where my dad came in. He and I went on several “daddy-daughter-dates.” We went on a sunset hot air balloon ride. We went to Santa Barbara via Amtrak. We went to San Juan Capistrano. We went horseback riding on Catalina Island. We went whale watching out of Dana Point and spent the night in Laguna Beach. And, we spent three days in San Diego. Those trips will always hold a special place in my heart.
- He’s always encouraged me to be smart. I’m a smart girl. In school, I was equally strong in math and English. For about half of my childhood, I had aspirations to be an astronaut. And my dad always supported that. I never felt that it wasn’t okay to be a smart girl. My dad always made me feel like it was okay for a girl to want to go into space; in fact, that there was nothing particularly special about it at all.
- He’s a quitter (in the good way). My dad started smoking cigarettes as a young boy. As an adult, he smoked pipes. But in 2016, my dad will celebrate his fourteenth year as a non-smoker. Within the last few years, he’s also quit adding salt and sugar to his foods. He’s made positive changes and has shown me that though it might not always have been easy, it’s possible to quit bad habits.
- He’s easy to please. When it comes to breakfast, one of my dad’s favorites happens to be a big bowl of Cheerios. He loves my mom’s spaghetti and meat sauce. He knows what he likes, and luckily, his favorites aren’t fancy, gourmet meals. They’re classics for a reason.
- He’s a good guy. My dad sets a fine example, for both my husband and my son. He’s genuinely a good guy. He’s decent and kind and likable. He’s someone who loves his family. And I’m proud to say that he’s my Daddy.