My dad has been a huge source of support and inspiration for me throughout my life. When I tell stories from my childhood, they are inevitably met with a chorus of “awwww” about the things he’d do. Of course, there were the standard Dad things: playing catch, helping us practice for sports, and making jokes that we rolled our eyes at.
There were the things that made us feel special. He’d tell us a story each night, one that he made up for us, a story all our own that no one else would ever get to hear. When we got a desktop, one of those old Macintosh boxes, he would let us sit there and bang away on the keyboard. We’d type pages and pages of gibberish, doing our best impressions of “Dad at work.” He’d print those gibberish pages out, taking them upstairs and pretending to read a story from them, a story that we got to believe we had written.
There were things that made us laugh. When the first Harry Potter book came out, he read it out loud to us. Sure, we were probably about 8 and 10, but having Dad read to us was fun. He had different voices for the characters (there were some repeats), making us giggle at his silly deep voice whenever Hagrid would talk. More than teaching us how fun reading can be, it taught us a deep respect for literature. He read the next six books to us, too, even when we were far past the age of being read to.
There were things that made me happy. I struggled with faith when I was in high school. I’d been raised Catholic, but I couldn’t reconcile what I was taught in Sunday School with my liberal view of the world. I turned toward Buddhism, a mindset I still find comfort in, believing in the shared energy of the universe and being my best self. Instead of shaming me or telling me I was going to Hell, my Dad took me on a long walk and talked about Buddhism and Hinduism and what they could teach the world. He accepted my choice and helped me find a way to feed my soul: volunteer work. I found more meaning in those Sunday mornings at the homeless shelter than I’d ever found at church.
I have a million stories about my Dad and all the wonderful things he did and everything he still does for me. I am so lucky to have such an amazing father. Happy Father’s Day, Dad!