19 June 2011

Happy Father's Day, Big T!

Happy Father’s Day to Big T, the man who:
Tolerated the nightly ritual of bouncing me on his knee while I tugged on his ears;
Took me tothe diner, where we played table hockey with a straw wrapper (while Mom thought we were at church);
Introduced me to the Hardy Boys, Sherlock Holmes and King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, so my book list didn’t just include Babysitters’ Club and Sweet Valley High paperbacks;
Encouraged the growth of my imagination by playing the Thinking Game for hours and hours on end;
Kept his opinions to himself when he took me shopping, and I insisted on having a hot pink beret and pink and turquoise pin striped  jeans (worn with a charm necklace and jellies);
Bought me my first kitten and convinced me to be patient when I cried the first night, “I don’t think he likes me, Dad”;
Secretly spilled the beans about the Christmas present I wanted most in life…the original Nintendo;
Took me driving in a parking lot in Cape Cod when I was 15, and didn’t blink when I came this far from taking out a fence;
Navigated the labyrinth of clothes, books, art supplies, cassette tapes, sports equipment and whatever else was on my bedroom floor as a teenager, to wake me up in the morning;   
Embodied the adage, “The best thing a father can do for his children is love their mother”;
Used the word “different” – as in “Oh, that’s different-- rather than “What the heck are you thinking wearing/doing that???”;
Waited up for me to come home when I was in high school all those years when I thought he just fell asleep in the recliner (like he does now);
Made mid-week visits to take me to dinner and cure my homesickness freshman year  of college;
Supported my financial security  through my mid-twenties  (okay, in all honesty late, late twenties);
Tracked down a used Cabrio in “perfect condition” and helped with maintenance when it constantly broke down;
Allowed me to make my own decisions (and my own mistakes) with the guidance, “Don’t disappoint us”;
Taught me tolerance, when he took the time to listen to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who used to come to the front door every weekend for a long, long time;
Taught me service and leadership through his involvement in community organizations;
Taught me the importance of finding a career that you love, not just getting a job (…I’m still working on that one…) ;
Taught me persistence by working full-time and going to school to get his doctorate, regardless of the obstacles or time constraints;
Taught me that learning is a lifelong activity, and no one can ever take knowledge away.

Thanks, Big T, for all that you’ve done for me and for making me who I am today! Love you lots!

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