Here's my dad in September, 1977.
These days he is very sick. And he's not getting better. This is deeply unfair and I have filed numerous complaints with The Powers That Be, to no avail.
There are some things that I want you to know about my dad. Also that I want him to know that I know about him. Because I was, as all teenagers are, a horrible person for a while there. So I don't know if I let on that I noticed or appreciated things like his hard work for our family, showing up for band concerts and football games, or knocking on my door when I was holed up in my room to sit down and make conversation with the alien creature formerly known as his mostly reasonable daughter. I don't know if he knows that I remember how he used to call me Mouse and sing Froggy Went A-Courtin' to me (froggy went a-courtin' he did ride, asked Miss Mouse to be his bride...) and swung us by the ankles to hickory dickory dock. He built us a big Barbie townhouse and added a screened porch onto our house because his girls had such horrible reactions to mosquito bites. He took us on vacations every summer and even rescheduled one so my sister and I could go to a New Kids on the Block concert that seemed like the most important thing in the world at the time. (The time was 1990.)
I gave him a Father's Day card that said something about how I'm proud when people say we're alike. He asked me if that meant clumsy, which yes, is true (though he somehow also got athleticism which totally passed me by.) But more than that, I'm glad I got his sense of adventure and laid back attitude. Most things just don't bother us all that much, which I think is a terrific way to be and one that serves me well in my travels. My dad got to see a lot of the world in the Navy and those stories and the trips he took us on helped to fuel my wanderlust. Most of the times my mom said "You are your father's daughter" it was in reference to not worrying about something or procrastinating something, like waiting until the morning of a trip to start packing. She didn't typically mean it as a compliment, but I always took it that way. I wish I was more like my dad - more outgoing, friendly, and confident. I'll keep working at it though.
I want him to know that he doesn't have to worry about me because he's leaving me in good hands. Thanks to his example, I knew what to look for in a husband. I knew I needed someone hard-working and dependable, kind, funny, and curious. I knew he should be protective, brave and strong, while still soft-hearted. He should be my partner in adventures, support my dreams, take care of me and make me laugh every day. And God knows he was going to have to be handy, because that trait of my father's seems to have skipped a generation. My dad set the bar really high and it took me a long time to find someone who cleared it. The many ways that Raj is like my dad help me feel confident that our marriage will be a grounding force for both of us, filled with fun, friendship, and love.
Dad told my sister one time that he wasn't going to give either of us away. "I'm keeping you," he said.
He did give me away, over two years ago now, but he kept me too. I've never stopped being Daddy's girl and I never will. I'll carry him with me all the places I see, visit, and live. It breaks my heart that my children won't know him - the man was born to be a grandpa - but they will know about him. They'll hear so many stories and see pictures and if they take after me they'll be taking after him too.
Thank you, Daddy, for all of your wisdom, guidance, strength, love, and support. I love you so much, then, now, and always.