October 11th, 2013. Know why this day is a big deal? Today my Dad turns 50. I think he is currently suffering from a mild bout of shock over starting another decade, but he should take comfort in the fact that male 50 is female 30 and in 67 days Brad Pitt will also be half a centenarian. Dad can also take comfort from the following list that took me at least five hours to come up with (no, more like five DAYS). This is my list of 50 Reasons Why My Dad is So Awesome (not in priority-based order, I’ll leave that up to the reader):
The First: Over the years it’s been a subject of serious debate between the two of us, but for my 12th birthday (remember, in this story I am a 12-year-old, pre-pubescent GIRL) my Dad bought me a Craftsman toolbox, which was also full of tools. He claims I asked for it. I claim I wanted clothes and make-up (complete lie, I wanted the giant Lego pirate ship and 101 Dalmatians with Glenn Close on VHS). I guess we’ll never know who is right, but the fact remains that I received a full-on, mechanic-worthy, legit toolbox for my 12th birthday. I still have it and it is in complete working order.
The Second: During my senior year of college, I was reading through the One Year Bible for the first time. My Dad had a couple copies of the NIV and let me borrow one for the year (ummm, I still have it). Toward the end of Winter Quarter, right before I graduated, I found an old note card he had written prayer requests on. Some were for others in his group, and one for himself. His request was that he would have the selflessness and patience to pay for my education instead of focusing on his own desires first. I cried so hard. But like, in a good way. Obviously.
The Third: From 2004 to 2011, on the first Sunday in May each year, my Dad raced me at Bloomsday and beat me at every single one until the last. In 2010, even though he had the lead, he slowed down toward the last corner and we crossed the finish line together. He still won that year, technically his time was faster, but those of you around us all those years know how intense the “competition” was and finishing together that year was kind of a big deal I guess.
The Fourth: He loves Christmas. And giving presents. Every year my sister and I are spoiled beyond reason and every year I LOVE IT. I would go off on the list of things we’ve received over the years but don’t want to make anyone too jealous. Instead, the point of this Reason My Dad is So Awesome is that his gifts are always unique to the receiver, full of thought, and TOTALLY AWESOME. Ok, so this one time I got an iPod before anyone else did. This other time, I got an electric guitar when I was 5. By “electric” I mean battery-powered. This other time I got a MacBook Air, bike trainer, triathlon gear, and a million dollars (that was last Christmas and I didn’t get a million dollars even though I EXPLICITLY ASKED FOR IT).
Addendum to The Fourth: A couple years ago my friend Ketra printed up adoption papers and filled them out so that Rob would adopt her because she wanted all my Christmas presents.
The Fifth: The first time I came home from college for a weekend, the living room was filled with my old friends from high school and my Dad… all sitting on the couch… playing Halo together. Everyone loves my Dad.
The Sixth: He builds all my furniture. My dresser, my desk, the thing my TV sits on, end tables, tree houses, picture frames, a kitchen for my Mom, a bathroom for all of us, a literal roof over our heads, stuff for other people, stores, houses, relationships… oh wait, I got carried away. When it comes to woodwork, my Dad is an artist. It’s really helpful.
The Seventh: He always wants to go clothes shopping with me so he’ll know if he looks good or not. Then he pretends to model in all the mirrors in the dressing room at H&M. He’s pretty sad I don’t work at Gap anymore.
The Eighth: For my 16th birthday I got a driver’s license and was allowed to share my Mom’s car. For my 17th birthday my Dad found a late 1999 bright red Jetta on eBay that was at a dealership in Missouri, bought it, flew out there and drove it back as a surprise. Probably the best part of this story is that he decided to take Grandpa Paul (his Dad) with him and then spent the rest of the trip trying to keep peanut shells out of the new car. Not really, the best part is where I got my own car.
The Ninth: When I qualified to Age Group Nationals in Milwaukee, my Dad didn’t hesitate to make the trip happen. He did pay for everything, but he also made the entire trip super fun. For details, please refer to my previous post.
The Tenth: He used to drink alcohol, then decided it was a problem and said he wouldn’t drink anymore and he hasn’t. That was like 25 years ago. On my 21st birthday he drank an NA. Mmmm, beer-flavored water.
The Eleventh: A few summers ago a stray cat found her way into my parent’s backyard where she had three kittens. Those three turned into a few more and before we knew it there were 15 cats hanging around. The neighbor didn’t love it so a few cats were captured and taken “over the river” but for the few that remained my Dad caught and had them fixed. There are still a couple that come around the house, waiting to be fed every morning. My Dad saved those cats.
The Twelfth: My Dad has dressed up as Ozzie Osborne and Homer Simpson at different youth events.
The Thirteenth: Having been married very young when money wasn’t handy, my parents had never been on a Honeymoon. For their 20th anniversary in the weeks leading up to February 16th, my Dad was constantly asking my opinion on different swim suits for my Mom and things to do in Hawaii. He planned out their entire vacation and even got time off of work for her without her knowing. At their Men’s Ministry Valentine’s Day dinner that year, Dad had it all planned out so that a trip to Hawaii would be the grand prize and made sure Mom’s name was called. The next morning they left from SeaTac. And I got to drive the F150 around Seattle for a week.
The Fourteenth: He mows the lawn every Thursday.
The Fifteenth: When I was 9 my parents took out a 15-year mortgage for their house and it was paid off before I was 24. My Dad also paid for my entire private college education out of pocket without going into debt during that time. The point of this is not at all that he’s rich, but that there was a lot of self-sacrifice and discipline on his part to make those things happen.
The Sixteenth: My Dad gets SO EXCITED when I bring friends down to Tri-Cities to visit. Then he always follows up and asks how they’re doing, even the friends I don’t see often anymore. This means you, SOS. Please Facebook Rob because he misses you.
The Seventeenth: In September 2007 I moved to Spokane after staying a few months post-college with my parents. The night I left my Dad hugged me and cried, then hugged me harder and didn’t let go for a really long time. It wasn’t awkward.
The Eighteenth: A couple months later he emailed me a story about when I was very little, probably four or five, and he had brought me to Spokane with him to run errands and we made a stop at Chuck E Cheese. I was playing in the ball pit and got stuck, the bigger kids were jumping around and I kept sinking lower and lower and my Dad told me that as he watched he couldn’t help but feel a little panicked and wanted to yell to the other kids to help me out but had to wait until I fought my way out. He said that’s how he felt again now that I was out of his house and on my own for the first time. That was such a good email.
The Nineteenth: He coached my basketball teams in high school.
The Twentieth: Last year I came home for a visit and when I set my things on the dining room table he yelled “WAIT, DON’T MOVE!” from the other room, then Lady Gaga started blaring and he danced his way out into the dining room in costume.
The Twenty-first: Our house has had every Nintendo gaming system since it’s inception. All four years of college any time I would come home, Dad would challenge me to Tetris 2 duels on NES. Sometimes I let him win.
The Twenty-Third: He’s really good looking and everyone knows it. Once, in high school (then again a million times after that), I saw a friend at the mall and she asked if he was my brother. A few years ago when I was working in the back room at Gap one of my co-workers came back to tell me my boyfriend was waiting for me on the main floor. It was Rob.
The Twenty-Sixth: This.
The Twenty-Eighth: Growing up most mornings while we were all getting ready in the one bathroom we all shared, “Hey girls! Goodmooooorning!!!” *while ripping giant farts*
The Twenty-Ninth: When Megan and I were little Dad would tell us bedtime stories he completely made up, that usually involved basketball and three point shots at the buzzer. My favorites were the ones about the giant Wimplestilt. I don’t even know.
The Thirtieth: My freshman year of high school Dad took us all on a tour through the New England states and when we were in NYC he quoted all the lines and did all the dances from “New York, New York” like he was Frank Sinatra or something.
The Thirty-First: When I was 21 and super distraught over a boy-situation, Dad sat on my bed until 1am talking to me about boys and relationships and dating and life and everything and it was awesome. It wasn’t really an advice giving situation, just visiting and discussing.
The Thirty-Second: On a drive home from SPU one year, Dad gave me a three point summary on relationships and what makes them work. To summarize, it went like this: “There are three parts to every relationship, the first two are not unimportant but more superficial. First there is attraction, do you even like each other, do you think each other are good looking, and want to be around each other? The second is goal-oriented, do you have the same desires and general direction in life? These two things can change because people change, but the last part, what ultimately holds a relationship together, is your will. Do you honor the commitment you made to the other person and see things through even though they might change over time, and you might change over time? Or do you give up? You do not. Because you made a promise.” I’ve never had a real relationship so that might be a wasted sermon, but I still like the way it sounds.
The Thirty-Third: He has a Traeger.
“Mom, I need 17 more reasons Dad is awesome.” “I didn’t even know your Dad when he was 17.” “Not helpful.”
The Thirty-Fourth: My Dad knows everything about potatoes. Seriously. Also, I have a 50lb bag of Baby Bakers sitting in my apartment, do you want some?
The Thirty-Fifth: Every time I go home for the weekend now my Dad is sitting on the couch watching a Korean soap opera. My sister lives in Seoul and was the one who introduced him to the dramas, so it probably started as a way to involve himself in Megan’s world, but now it’s just a regular part of his day.
The Thirty-Sixth: Before Lucy passed away, Dad would always enter the house through the garage singing loudly songs of his own composition to (and about) the dog. Now he sings them to the cats.
The Thirty-Seventh: He’s rarely silent. Sometimes it’s just me and Dad doing things and there is always a conversation happening. Occasionally it’s an argument but still, communication happens and that is always a good thing.
The Thirty-Eighth: In middle school when we would go clothes shopping my Dad would buy me whatever I wanted as long as I could calculate the exact price with tax in my head before we got to the register.
The Thirty-Ninth: The summer after my freshman year of college I drove his ’97 maroon F150 into the mailbox. By accident. When I called to tell him what I’d done he just listened, then later that day he made fun of me for being a terrible driver. Years later its still a big joke to him. It was only a six-foot long scratch/dent.
The Fortieth: Earlier this week he texted me to say “Don’t forget to eat right and do your duty today.”
The Forty-First: When I was in fourth grade, Dad took the whole family to Florida to visit Disney World but mostly to visit NASA. Right after that the movie Apollo 13 came out in theaters and shortly after that my parents purchased a new washing machine. Dad turned the box into a lunar module and Megan and I spent MONTHS in that box pretending we were Jim Lovell.
The Forty-Second: My Dad visits his Dad regularly, and takes him out for lunch. My Dad visits his Dad’s friends when they’re in the hospital.
The Forty-Third: My Dad plays basketball regularly, has done P90x and Insanity several times each, and keeps himself healthy. My Dad made me want to do an Ironman just so I’d have something that made me feel like I was keeping up with him.
The Forty-Fifth: In fifth grade he built me a treehouse. It had three levels. And a rope swing. Then he built another treehouse at Grandpa Paul’s house for us. It had a fireman’s escape pole to slide down.
The Forty-Sixth: He works really hard.
The Forty-Seventh: He always shows up and I don’t remember any life events where my Dad wasn’t there.
The Forty-Eighth: A couple weekends ago my best friend said that the difference between my Dad (and Mom) and so many other people his age is that he wants to relate to people younger than him, that he cares and invests in people younger than him. My Dad is separate because he chooses to be different and that makes him awesome.
The Forty-Ninth: He’s so funny. You guys… just… so funny.
The Fiftieth: He’s my Dad. And I love him.
There are a million other reasons my Dad is awesome, and there are probably quite a few things he’s done I’ll never know because he doesn’t parade around his good deeds like I do. The point is: My Dad is awesome.
And… Happy Birthday, ROB!