Without going into detail,
there was a celebratory supper some weeks back in honor of my father.
As one who can freely admit to the title of Daddy's Girl,
I stood proudly with my mother and the others who sang his praises that night.
Knowing that the Daddy's Girl mentality is a common one,
especially among those women like myself who seek something in love
that is of a caliber equivalent to the patriarchal hero...
I thought I'd share my speech.
Here's to you, old man.
* * * * *
What to say about my father...
aside from the fact that he's immensely gifted
in the realms of word and wit,
and that his sense of humor is enviable-
even among the comedically adept.
What to say about him,
aside from the fact that he's left a legacy
of giving both in time and in talent.
That be bows his head
and bends his ears for others.
That he often blends quips and candor
to convey an engaging impression that lasts
long after his voice has faded from the room.
What to say about my father aside from this:
He is the greatest man in my life.
I think back to my days at home and
the flow of my childhood.
I connect to him the memory of leather loafers
worn smooth on the outer soles as he walks
more so on the exterior edges of his feet.
I think of him digging his heels into the hard
snow on a steep bank so that I, as a little girl,
would have the handholds to climb upward.
I think of line drives he took-
sending wiffle balls directly into my forehead.
Of Tae Kwon Do and Teaberry gum.
Of bedtime songs.
And tire swings.
I recall the dog lover and the music aficionado,
the neighbor and friend and son and husband
I witnessed during my younger years.
He taught me timing.
To appreciate the power and the play of words-
how to deliver a well-placed punchline.
I grew up admiring this man for his ability to
make others laugh... at times in spite of himself
or his circumstances, and to this day-
any privilege I may have
to make another person laugh is, at the core,
an homage to my father.
I think of my teen years, and the day
he attempted teaching me how to drive.
I think of the rhetorical questions, as sharp
as the points he was making.
I think of the suggestions he offered, and how
he later told me they were never really suggestions.
I remember, when heartsick...
"You don't need a love."
When impatient, "It won't be as long as it has been,"
and, when dreading the miles of running and
the suicide drills at volleyball practice,
"You can always take one more step."
You can always take one more step...
I hope you know, Dad, how much I took that to heart.
I hope you know that you are in every step I take,
that I carry your words and your spirit in
my heart's back pocket.
That I'm proud to be your blood,
and that I strive to have your backbone.
I am thankful to have your eyes.
I hope as I continue to grow both in age
and as a person, that I'll learn
to see more as you do...
with the wisdom and perspective attained through experience,
the resilience that accompanies faith,
and the laughter, always the laughter...
the ability to find the humor in things.
Thank you for my childhood.
For helping so much to shape me into who I am today.
For loving Mom as you've loved her,
and for loving me just as well-
even during my teenage years
when you claimed to have no idea who I was.
Thank you for being you.
I am a wiser mother and a stronger woman
for having had you as my father.
Who you are in your entirety...
has only made me better in mine.
I love you.