January 6, 2011

On his birthday: 20 Reasons My Dad is the Coolest

Oh, it's a very special day today, friends.

My beloved Dad turns 64 today.


My mother is my best friend, but I have always and will always be a daddy's girl. Always. College speech class, time to give a speech about your hero? Boom, Dad. No thought required.

I've learned so much from him, even when, in my teenage angst, I just wanted to block out the sound of his voice. (And, oh please dear Lord, please never let me hear the words "attitude adjustment" ever again!)


It's a Thursday. We're both working, and I can't be with him on his special day. So instead, today I give you:

20 Reasons My Dad is the Coolest
By Written Permission

  1. His laugh. When he laughs, REALLY laughs, it's an amazing belly laugh that makes him squint his eyes up tightly and throw his head back. I love making him laugh.
  2. His love for music. He's a fantastic singer (he's been part of a quartet for the past 20-odd years called "The Final Four," so named because they were asked to sing at so many funerals) and always sang to us. In fact, he sang ALL the time. In the mornings, getting ready for work. In the kitchen fixing himself a snack. In the bathroom doing...who knows what. Sometimes he'll break into song in the middle of a conversation. It's just part of his charm. :)
  3. His dimples. I just discovered that he had them. He's been my dad for 33 years -- how I have not noticed this before? I blame the beard. But they're adorable.
  4. His determination to make me into an athlete. Growing up, he took me golfing, bowling, to the batting cages -- you name it -- and bought me a volleyball for my 14th birthday. I was hopelessly uncoordinated and WAY too stubborn to take any of his coaching, but he kept encouraging me, spending lots of quality father-daughter time in the process. He'd be lying if he said he wasn't a little bit sad when I quit sports (for which I have ZERO talent -- sorry, Dad) for good in 9th grade, but he came to every concert, gave me roses before every play and always told me how proud he was. That's a good dad.
  5. His popularity. He was once voted "Favorite Person" in a write-in vote in the county where we lived. (He hates hearing this part, but just between you and me, he beat out "God" and "Jesus" in the polls.)
  6. His terms of endearment. I'm 33, and he still calls me "baby." How nice is that?

  7. His ambition. My father is an incredible businessman who's built a pharmacy chain from the ground up. He's never afraid to ask for help and never afraid to go it alone when the situation called for it. And because he's who he is, he's learned from his failures and come out successful in the end. Very inspiring.
  8. His generosity. Ask anyone who knows him: My dad is a helper. And while he's been a helper his entire life, now that he's semi-retired, he's kicked it up a notch, spending multiple weeks each year helping a village in Honduras build churches, schools, houses -- whatever they need. He gives his time, his money, his advice -- all freely and gladly. It's the trait of his I most want to emulate in my own life.
  9. His ability to "watch" sports while "resting his eyes." Sorry, Dad, but no one believes this.
  10. His better-than-average art skills. This may come as a shock to many people who know him, but he's actually pretty good with a pencil. When I was in fourth grade he illustrated a (completely nonsensical) "book" I had written since my own drawings resembled those of a psychotic prisoner.
  11. His ability to know everyone, everywhere. Anywhere we go -- in state, out of state, places he's never been in his entire life -- my dad will find someone he knows. Or maybe everyone just feels like they know him because he's such a friendly guy. Either way, the man knows no stranger, and that's a heck of a positive way to live.
  12. His love of being our Dad. I'm sure my brother would agree: Our dad loves us with a devotion and loyalty that, while it chafed sometimes when we were younger, is pretty incredible. Our parents were never those parents who defended us no matter what we did -- they made sure we faced every consequence head-on. But they were always there to hug us and tell us they still loved us when it was over. And now when we're adults and going through a hard time? Still RIGHT there.
  13. His love of being a Papa. You will never see that man's eyes light up quite the way they do when my niece walks into the room and says "Papa!" He could eat her for breakfast, lunch and dinner -- he loves being a Papa that much.

  14. His love for my mom. One year, just before Christmas, Mom was at work and Dad asked my brother and me to help him wrap her gifts. To this day I don't know what prompted it, but he said, "I love you kids so much -- you'll just never know how much I love you. And your mom...I love her most of all." At the time (I was about 12), I was silently kind of aghast. How could my dad love my mom MORE than me?! It was like telling me he had a favorite child -- betrayal! As I became a less self-centered adult (hopefully) and got married myself...I finally got how amazing that kind of love really is. And what a great example for his kids. I've never forgotten it.
  15. His cooking. My father, hands-down, makes the best scrambled eggs and grits in the entire world. I'm salivating right now just thinking about it. He's pretty good on the grill, too. And he makes a mean bowl of cereal. :)
  16. His nine lives. In 10 years' time, he totaled four cars and always emerged virtually unscathed (OK, maybe with a few broken ribs). And they were always the most bizarre stories. ("A flock of birds flew in front of my windshield! No, really!") If you could see pictures of the cars, you'd swear he has a guardian angel. I have no doubt. Drive more carefully, Dad!!
  17. His inability to act his age. Christmas this year found us all at a waterpark, and my then-63-year-old father was right in the mix, as always. Running around, scaling and then throwing himself down stories-high water slides and splashing and playing with his granddaughter.
  18. His ambiguous ethnicity. Whenever we'd go on vacation, people would start speaking to my father in foreign languages. Spanish. Italian. Middle Eastern languages I've never heard of. Even Chinese (although I think that's a bit of a stretch). And each time he was forced to say, with an apologetic grin, "Umm...I'm sorry -- I have no idea what you're saying." With his black hair and dark skin, he looks as though he might come from almost any ethnic background except his actual heritage (German/Swiss), and it is endlessly confusing to strangers who JUST want to talk to someone from the motherland.
  19. His willingness to try new things. I'm certain if I told him my new favorite food was peanut butter and pickle sandwiches dipped in barbecue sauce, he'd at least try a bite. He never wants to miss out on new experiences, and I think that's pretty amazing.
  20. His ability to always be himself. One thing's for sure with my dad: He'll always tell you what he thinks, and he isn't afraid to show what he's feeling. When my great-grandmother died 20 years ago, we sang her favorite hymn at her funeral, and my dad couldn't quite make it the whole way through. He put his arm around me and used his other hand to wipe away tears, but he made no effort to hide them. His beloved grandmother had died, and he was going to miss her, and my big, strong dad was going to show it. In that moment and ever since, I've known in my heart that that's what makes a real man.
Oh, Dad. There are so many more than 20 reasons why you're the coolest. Like the way you always have a book (and now a kindle) in your hand, and pretty much single-handedly fostered my lifelong love of reading. Or all the times you did ridiculous dances in the kitchen or farted at the dinner table (sorry, Mom) just to make your children laugh. Or the story of how you threw the hairbrush down the well when you were little.

There are just too many reasons to count.

So on your birthday, let me just say, from daughter to father: I love you. You really are the coolest, bestest, most fabulous-est father a girl could ask for. Thanks for being my dad. :)

7 backtalk:

Summer said...

Thanks, S, I really needed to cry this morning.

This. is. beautiful.

I can't imagine how much this will mean to your dad. (Who has a great head of hair, I might add.)

They are all beautiful, but my most favorite? Number 14. . . fabulous! Thank you letting your readers "meet" this beautiful soul.

Biscuit said...

THis is so incredibly sweet! I love the part about him telling you guys how much he loved you, but loved your mom most of all. Oy! My heart!

Wendy said...

I loved this post so much!

Iris Took said...


We DO care about your Dad. I love this post and absolutely loved the photo of you two on your wedding. Beautiful.

Mickey D. said...

So sweet. So very sweet.

When we went pre-wedding classes with our pastor, my husband mentioned that he would always put me before our children because our relationship was most important. I cried on impact.

It's something I had never heard him say before and I just thought it was so romantic and kind. So I ADORE that your Dad told you guys that.

He sounds like quite a guy! Happy Birthday!

Trophy Life said...

so awesome. i LOVE these 20 reasons and am so happy that you have your dad!

wrestling kitties said...

Tears tears and more tears.

What a great post.

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