Today I celebrate my father (that's him in the picture above)...a man whom I admire and love deeply. Not so much for what he has accomplished in life. But because he is a good, decent man...an encouraging father...and a loving grandfather. Beyond the evening walks around the neighborhood when I was growing up, the annual celebration of the first snowfall where we would watch together no matter the time of day or night, the little league practice (I forgive you for the baseball in the face), the driving lessons, the furniture building in my first apartment, the daily Pizza Hut lunch runs during my accident recovery, the jubilant welcoming of my husband into the family, the cat-sitting (all 6 of them), the hidden $20 bills, the grammar lessons, the technical Q & A's, the...
Beyond that and more...my "dad" is the one I know I can turn to no matter what. He does not judge (although sometimes he shakes his head in disappointment). He'll listen, offer advice only when it is requested, and be there in full support. He's the technical type, and I think it pleases him that I now have a MAC (he was an Apple aficionado from the beginning) and know what HTML stands for. Not an outwardly emotional man, I know that he loves me even if he doesn't say it. I can see that he is proud...by the twinkle in his eye. After he read my book PRETTY LITTLE THINGS he called me to tell me his favorite page was 89. Mine, too.
I love the type of relationship we have. There's a silly bantering from time to time. Like when he told me I was a mutt...made from many different European heritages...and that my butt came from the Polish side. Or when he moved our entire family from Nashua, New Hampshire to Portland, Oregon because he read that Portland was "one of the safest places to live" according to some book. Years later, Money Magazine came out with a list of the best places to live in the U.S and Nashua, New Hampshire was #1. Well, I bought that magazine, circled #1 in red, and wrapped it up to give to him. He chuckled.
That's what my dad does. Chuckles. And hums while he eats. And eats all his dinner before he has one sip of a tall glass of milk to wash it down. And reads stories to my children as they sit on his lap. And collects hats (especially those in Dobbs hat boxes). And watches the news endlessly. And golf. I never quite got the news-watching until now...as I must have inherited that gene along with the Polish butt gene from my dad.
So today I celebrate my dad. For all the things he is...especially the little things! And it is the little things that mean the most. Dad...I love you...today and every day.
I also want to celebrate another father (and son). Tim Russert of Meet the Press passed away Friday. I'm not a big political follower, so what I know of Tim Russert mostly is that he celebrated the relationship between fathers and their children. Last year, on Father's Day, I gave my father a special hard-bound autographed copy of his book WISDOM OF OUR FATHERS. This year, it is Tim Russert's first book BIG RUSS & ME. As I watch the coverage of this man, I come to see what a good, decent man he was. An honorable American. A respected journalist. A loving husband, father, son. He has always reminded me of my dad...the constant smile and rosy cheeks and general happy disposition. In my family, when we try to explain something that is going awry, we just say "Florida Florida Florida" (after the 2000 election coverage by Tim Russert). I am heartbroken for his family and friends that it is on Father's Day weekend that he passes away but know that he has left a legacy that inspires me and many, many others.