(In an effort to avoid confusion, please know that the dad I speak of here is my dad Richard, not my dad Rick. I never called Richard my “step” dad, except on occasion to distinguish between the two, because he WAS my dad. He was just as much my dad as my dad by blood. Together, they raised me. Together, they walked me down the isle. Together, they helped make me who I am.)
For as long as I can remember, my dad has been reading every article I’ve ever published, and although I haven’t posted much publicly about his passing, I could not write anything new here without acknowledging him. I thought about him every single time I went to write something for this blog: “I wonder what he’ll think about this?” or “I hope this makes him proud” or, when I wrote on topics like sex or body image, “oh, geez, my dad is going to read this!” Ha!
And I know, some where, some how, he’s reading this right now with a smile on his face, laughing out loud at all the right parts.
I love you, Dad.
He taught me how to ride a bike
and and kick a soccer ball
and play checkers
and bake a sweet potato pie.
We jumped in leaves
and sled down hills
and roasted marshmallows
and played countless games of Atari Pole Position and Wheel of Fortune.
He climbed a tree to catch my bird when I left his cage open
and quizzed me on my spelling
and bought me flowers when I passed the test.
He took me riding
and entertained me with endless games of Don’t Smile.
He promised he’d buy me a horse if I didn’t smile
but I never could resist smiling at him,
not even for a horse.
He was my biggest fan
A constant support in everything from writing to music to farming to gardening.
He bought me my first computer
my first five goats,
the fencing we needed for our cow,
the trees we planted in our garden,
my first pair of riding boots,
and a real suede winter coat during my first winter in New York,
because that’s what I wanted,
even though he was financially struggling at the time
(I didn’t know this until years later.)
He texted each week, just to check in.
He read every childhood story I ever wrote
and every article I ever published
and laughed at all the right parts of my stories.
He offered the best advice
and gave the biggest hugs
and told the corniest jokes
and ran the fastest races.
Even in his sixties.
Even against my teenage children.
He played guitar
and taught Kung fu
and worked with the homeless
and made me feel safe.
Even as an adult.
Because he was there.
To help, to support, to lean on, to share his wisdom.
As a child, he was my world.
As an adult, he helped me shape it.
Thank you, Dad.
Thank you for your life.
Thank you for your love.
Thank you for making me better.
For the miracle of you in my life.
For the privilege of sharing it with you.
I love you.