So I realize Fathers Day is gone and past, but I really meant to take the time to write up some of the thoughts I have regarding my own Dad. Again, this post is more for me to remember than for you to find interesting or intriguing (sp?).
My first set of memories revolves around cars. I grew up in the times where child seats, wearing seat belts, or any type of kid/car regulation was non-existent. Not that that is a good thing, thankfully I survived, but it definitely made for some fun times if you had a Dad who was cool. I owe it to my Dad for creating some awesome memories for me in our cars.
I dont remember how old I was, but I was pretty young I think. I clearly remember us in the family car and I must have been sitting in the front seat. If you are from Ypsilanti, you should know that going down I-94, I think it is the Huron Street exit, right past there, you start driving by Ford Lake. At that exact spot in the road, I was placed in my dads lap and given the steering wheel. I moved it back and forth and thought it was just the coolest thing in the world to be at the drivers seat with my Dad.
I also have the best memories of going to this one apple orchard near my Moms old house, not Wiards, but it was this little family orchard near a gravel pit. (Said orchard is also the location where at the age of 3 I accompanied my 13 year old oldest brother John in picking up apples off the ground for like 25 cents a crate or something ridiculous like that. I think John even gave me a portion of the proceeds. Anyways thats beside the point, but that was where I got my first job at 3 years old.)So as a kid, even though the orchard probably wasnt that big, to a little kid it seemed like its own protected world. You were surrounded by trees and the dirt roads between the rows of trees were like the city streets. Well, I have the memory of my Dads station wagon with one of those doors that folds down, kind of like a pickup truck, with the rear facing seat back there. Well, my Dad would let down that door and let us sit on the tailgate as he drove us into the orchard and out of the orchard. Seeing the ground go by beneath my feet, and sitting next to my brothers and sisters enjoying the ride, man it didnt get better than that. Now that I think about it, one of my cool older brothers would always be crazy and jump off the back as we were going through the orchard, and then try to catch up to the car to hop back on and my Dad would speed up so they couldnt catch us. At the time it was some good ole fashioned family fun.
My last car memory for today occurred on a Saturday as we were getting ready to head home from a scout campout. My Dad always went on campouts with us in Scouts. He would always volunteer to help out and drive or whatever. Well, that day he had to head back earlier than the rest of the group and I was going to leave early with him. We left the group somewhere to go load our car. As we were about to leave, my Dad asked if I wanted to steer us out of the campground. I sat on his lap in the seat, and was enjoying steering us down the dirt roads through the woods to get out of the campsite. Unbeknownst to us, the rest of my friends and leaders were all coming down the same road we were driving on walking back from wherever they had been. When my friends saw that I was driving I could totally see on their faces how jealous they were. I pretended like I was going to steer towards them and they laughed and we laughed and we just kept driving. I know that those kids were so jealous of me that I had a Dad who would let me do cool stuff like that. I will never forget it, it made me feel so special.
My next memory is based on a little thing in the Kennedy Family we referred to as "Pudding Parties". My parents are divorced so we would go on visitation with my Dad every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, and once a month we would spend the weekend at his house. One day, my Dad took us to the cafeteria that resided on the second floor of Meijer Thrifty Acres. The cafeteria was awesome. My dad let us pick out what we wanted to eat as a treat and most if not all of us chose pudding. Hence began the tradition of "Pudding Parties". We would not always get pudding, but it was still a pudding party. That cafeteria eventually closed down and the pudding party location was gone forever, but the memory of the pudding party will live on in my heart forever. Thanks Dad.
I also have a memory of all of us kids at once would tackle and wrestle my Dad on his bed. It would be so crazy. We would all try to get him and he would just flip us off and roll us over. We would be a jumble of bodies, but it was so fun.
One of my favorite things to do with my Dad when I was little was to build model airplanes with him. He would buy me models to work on with him. I will never forget the first one we built together. I know that I globbed on the glue, and messed up the pieces or paint, but he would still let me participate. He was patient with me and would help me feel like I was doing a good job. I hope that I can do that kind of stuff with my kids too.
Needless to say, my Dad is the man! I love him so much. When I was little people would say that I looked just like my Dad and I was so proud of that. My Dad is left handed and none of my siblings are. I remember my Mom telling me that for a while they thought that I was going to be left handed too, but then I turned right. When she said that I had wished that I turned out to be left handed because my Dad was. He has created so many good memories in my life, all because he made us kids a priority and because he wasn’t selfish with his time. When we were little I don’t remember ever seeing my Dad sit down and watch a football game or baseball game rather than playing with us. I hope I can create the wonder and fun for my kid’s lives the way he did for me. I am grateful for all the sacrifices he made to make our lives as good as they were.