Saturday, June 20, 2009

For My Dad

If you don’t know my dad, then you have to know one thing: he is a character. As in, he could be a fictional character in a book. He’s the center of attention in most rooms because he’s loud and funny.

Dad and Mom going to a Halloween party circa late 90s

He’ll act like he knows you even if he doesn’t and he loves to tell a good joke; those two things always make him very popular. If you met him, he’d ask how old your parents were {or when they graduated from high school}, see if he knew them {most likely he did} and then he’d be your friend in a southern-fried minute.

He met my mom on a double date; he was the other girl’s date. They dated for 6 months and then got engaged and married. About a year and half later I entered the scene. I can’t put my finger on exactly when, but I’ve always known I was daddy’s girl. I slept on his chest at night as a baby, he threw me in the air like only daddies can do and he always told me I could do anything I wanted to do.

Me and Dad in '81 or '82 at Easter at Other Mama's House

My dad wanted me to be smart. He didn’t just say he wanted me to be good at things, he invested his time, energy and his heart into making me excel.

In 3rd grade tic-tac-toe had become very popular. Much to my dismay, I kept losing- to BOYS of all people. So, dad and I stayed up past midnight one night so he could teach me the strategy of how to win {the secret is in the corners, people, not the center}.

He coached every softball team I ever played on. He went to coaches meetings, team practices, games and even woke up in the mornings thinking of ways that I could hit better. We would go outside at 7 am before school in the spring and work on technique in the side yard that we shared with the Andrews {Josh and Alana- their yard housed home plate and first base; ours had the rest}. He cried with me the years I didn’t make All-Stars. And when I did, my family spent the summers traveling to tournaments all over the southeast.

In high school, he was friends with all my friends {and their parents, too!}. They were always welcome at our house, he knew what was going on in their lives and everybody genuinely loved my dad. It was a weird high school phenomenon! When I left for college, he even still had people knocking on the door to come hang out.

Dad and Me on the deck of a cruise ship off Alaska around '99

He and mom trekked up to college for any event that we had and he called me almost every day of college. Most of the time he called at 7am to wake me up. Have I mentioned he’s a morning person? A no-coffee, just happy to be awake, let’s-go-get-things-done morning person. Yeah.

When Jason and I were dating, I told him that when he met my dad, he would offer him a beer. No matter what time of the day, circumstance, etc, the answer should always be “yes”. Jason thought I was crazy and making this up; he said no one’s dad had ever offered him a beer before. Sure enough, just as I’d played it in my mind, the exact scene happened. Jason said "yes" and from there on out he was “in”. Whew!
Dad had "Her Mother and I Do" written on a business card in his left hand.
He said he didn't want to mess up his "one line".

Only looking back can I see how much both my parents did to ensure I succeeded. I think they also wanted to know that I would eventually leave the house and get off their “payroll”, but they wanted me to do well and be happy. They both love the Lord and wanted me to know His love through their actions- not just church Sunday School or church every week- but through what they did for me and how they acted the other 6 days of the week.

They set the standard pretty high. I don’t know if it’s possible to live up to, but I will do my best. I want my kids to know they’re loved like I do and to know that their parents will always support them like I know mine will. I want them to know that they can always come running to us, when needed and they might get a kick in the pants when needed- just like I have in the past. {My dad handed me my car bill on the day I graduated from college… and I didn’t have a job.}

Dad -aka Big Daddy- with Ollie {who is named after him in real life}

Dad and Henry cruising in style

Dad, thanks for all the late night strategies, early morning calls and constant positive outlook on life. You are an amazing Dad and so much fun to know and love! Our lives would be so boring without you! We love you and can't wait to see you soon!

Happy Father’s Day!
Love,
Daddy’s Girl

10 comments:

Laura said...

awwwwwwww, I love your dad!

Diana Williams said...

Hillary, that's such a beautiful tribute! Made me cry. Diana

Sandra said...

What a wonderful tribute to your dad on this Father's Day!

Anonymous said...

Hillary,
You'll never know how much this meant to Gary (Daddy) and me today--especially on Father's Day! What a wonderful daughter you've always been! We are very fortunate to have you, and we love you beyond words! Mom & Dad

Susannah said...

How sweet, I kind of teared up and I've never even met your daddy! :)

mary caroline said...

We were lucky to get to spend Father's Day with your dad...and mom! As usual he was a hit and the first thing he said to me is "Did you see Hillary's blog??!? She wrote about me!" He had a smile on his face stretched from ear to ear! Happy Father's Day to Jason! See you at the beach next week...the countdown is on!

Gray Matters said...

As someone who grew up living next to your daddy - I can say he definitely was always in a good mood. I love your tribute to him!

Allison said...

This is a beautiful post. What a great way to honor your Dad!

the jewells said...

I think our dads would hit it off beautifully! My friends have always loved hanging out with my parents. Before my mother had officially 'met' my dad, she commented to her dad that she wanted to marry someone just like that, someone who was jolly. (She was referring to my dad-that sentence is a little confusing...lots of dads.) I also want to comment on the Easter picture-that has to be a Polly Flanders dress you are wearing! My grandmother made sure I had every PF dress from 1981-1984!

the jewells said...

Okay, I just googled it and it is Polly Flinders, not Flanders! I feel like the lady who commented on your post the other day about Chester Drawers! I've always called it Flanders!

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Hillary

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