I’ve been thinking about what to write lately, and truthfully, I’ve got nothin. I’ve thought about writing another post about nannying, but I run out of words to say. I would do a how to post, but over here in the blogging world, this kind of writing is everywhere you turn.
But what – or who, actually – ISNT everywhere? Who is someone I can write about without running out of words? My dad.
So here I go.
The first memory I have of my dad and I is probably my first because of how many times I’ve watched the video, but it’s still a good one. We’re about to embark on a walk through the woods to find a “witch.” I’m 2. Or 3, maybe? I finally get dressed and ready to go, and we’re heading out to the car. And I smack my head on the car door and start to sob hysterically.
And my dad whips out his video camera and films the whole thing.
That’s us in a nutshell.
Growing up, holy cow this dude was my best friend! I chose him over mom, no hesitation, always. I chose him because he was loud, funny, and wide freaking open.
Middle school: I was awkward, bossy, and feeling out of control. I couldn’t drive a car, I couldn’t stay up late, I didn’t have the new Sims 3 game, I couldn’t see without my glasses…I was a wreck. And I clung to my mama for dear life because I wondered why on earth boys were so damn weird and why us girls had to put up with them all of the time.
I still haven’t figured that out.
The dude that was my dad and that was loud, funny, and wide open became in my 12 and 13 year old brain more parental than ever. I couldn’t separate dad-as-best-friend from dad-who-tells-you-what-to-do and it was hard. REALLY hard. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.
This continued into high school and I was stupid and annoyed with my hot mess of a social life so I shut down and shut him out. And wow how it hurt my heart to do it. Junior year of high school was dark and lonely and not my favorite. I wanted so badly to laugh at his jokes but my body wouldn’t let me. My brain wouldn’t let him in.
Truthfully, it wasn’t until I packed my station wagon when I was 17 and headed off to college four hours away that it hit me.
Cue the part of Wide Open Spaces by the Dixie Chicks when the dad asks about the oil and the mom says, “I’m leaving my girl.” That was me.
And I still can’t get through that part of the song without crocodile tears. I’m a loser. But whatever.
I realized that all along in middle school and high school I wanted so desperately to fit in. I wanted to be included. I wanted to be valued. My peer group meant so much to me that I was angry at my parents (and mostly, without reason, my dad) all of the time for not being able to fix them. My friends, I mean.
But when I went to college I realized that I DO fit in. I AM included. I have SO much value.
To my dad.
He’s still loud. He’ll yell – seriously, YELL – “Welcome to Moes!” no matter what restaurant you’re in and he’s the king of waking the whole house up with his rock music.
He’s still funny. He’ll say a joke over and over so many times you’ll wonder if he’s even speaking English anymore and he’ll send you videos of little kids busting their asses because he knows you can’t help but laugh.
And he’s still wide open. Sooooo wide open. He’ll dream up family trips with convertibles and beach houses in the mix – and set his dream vacation as his computer background to keep the hype going. He would have a cup of coffee (or two or three) from every coffee shop in the world if you’d give him the chance to.
And he’s still the freaking coolest. And he’s still my best friend.
It just took me a little while to figure it out.
To my friend for life, my scary movie partner in crime, my everything coach, my #1 fan, and the coolest guy I know, Happy (almost) Father’s Day! You mean more to me than I let on.