My dad & I
Well, crap. I guess it’s pretty cliché to write a blog post about how great your dad is on Father’s Day, but I have to have some sort of excuse to kiss his ass, right? Honestly, I don’t know if he’ll read this, but if he does, he’ll probably be embarrassed. He doesn’t really like attention in this way, but thankfully, he also doesn’t really use the internet as much as the rest of us (see: something he calls “nerding”). But you see, cliché or not, he is the best person I’ve ever known for a multitude of reasons. I could probably write an encyclopedia of the ways he impresses many, but I’ll keep it short out of respect for brevity. Let me tell you a little bit about my best friend.
He knows literally everything.
I remember when I was a young teenager, probably like thirteen or fourteen, I saw some chart in a magazine or somewhere depicting various ages of a girl’s life and her relationship with her father. Obviously it was just cute, probably with no factual basis, but it went something like you would expect: when you’re a child, your father is a superhero; then you grow a few years and you think he knows everything; when you’re a teenager, you think he knows nothing; when you grow up more, you realize he’s only human; and so on. I guess that chart was pretty bang on, except that I never grew out of that phase where I thought he knew everything, because in my mind… he sort of does.
Anytime I ask him for help on something, some sort of advice, or how something works, he always has an answer. I always tell my friends, “Let me call my dad. He totally knows” and sure enough, when I do, I get an almost textbook answer about how to fix the most obscure, minute little fixture on my kitchen sink, or the best way to cook carrots. I think I’ve only heard him say, “You know, I actually don’t know” three or four times in my life, and the tone he uses when he says it generally reflects both his surprise and mine.
While playing Jeopardy!, something we did nightly during dinner when I was in high school and still living with him (and, honestly, whenever I am back to visit) he would kick my ass night after night. The only times I would win were when I cheated and kept it playing while he cooked, or was in and out of the room. Whatever! I need an advantage sometimes!
Oh, and his vocabulary is pretty spectacular and kind of silly sometimes. You’ll just be having a casual conversation and he’ll randomly throw in words like, “cantankerous” and “subcutaneous” and you don’t realize it until a minute later and think, “Who is this guy?” Oh, yeah, a smartass!
He has eclectic taste.
I brag about this literally all the time. One of my coworkers went to see ZZ Top a few weeks ago and my entire conversation with him about it revolved around how awesome my dad’s music taste is, bragging about how my dad set up an amazing stereo system and would listen to “Rough Boy” with the bass in the walls shaking across the house.
Sometimes, when I was younger and sleeping in too late on the weekends, when he wanted to be casual with a wake-up call (probably so I would clean my room) and not want to be so blatant by using a vacuum outside my door, he’d put Depeche Mode on those speakers and honestly, how could I be mad? It was genius. I may have pretended to be asleep still, but really I would just be laying there, enjoying his tunes for awhile. He always calls me to ask about music, if I’ve heard such and such band because he’d heard them on the radio, or such and such song, saying I knew about Muse before they were big, etcetera etcetera, but really, I wouldn’t have had any foundation to form my own tastes on if he hadn’t laid the groundworks.
Oh, and we’re seeing Depeche Mode together in September. Amazing.
Four words: Raised Two Teenage Girls.
My dad, my older sister & I
So, but… how?!
This one blows my mind. My dad is a man’s man. He’s into all things masculine, motorcycles and tech and war movies, yet somehow, he managed to raise my sister and me. I mean… two teenaged girls in one house, I sometimes thought I was going crazy. How did he survive?! We all got along really well most of the time, we were sort of our own little Evans team, but… I’m honestly impressed.
When I got my period the first time, I was so embarrassed and my older sister wasn’t home and I didn’t know who to talk to, so I went to the kitchen (where he was waiting for me, because we were about to leave to go to my aunt and uncle’s house) and took a notepad and wrote, “I think I need a pad…” and he burst out laughing, and handled it like a champion. I’ll never forget the day a couple years later, when fourteen-year-old me was in so much pain from it, the worst cramps, and he went to the store to buy pads. I always just pictured this tough dude waiting in line, the only thing between his dividers on the conveyer belt being a package of bright and bold Tampax pads. I don’t know if I ever thanked him for that.
The point is, he survived through the ups and the downs of living with two teenage girls, and even two girls growing up into adulthood. He has listened to me cry about boys, cry about my weight, cry about the pimple on my nose, cry about how my period makes my chest ache. He has found condoms in the wash, and known the right time to mention the option of birth control. Yet still, he would threaten to kick any man’s ass for our honor.
God damnit, dad, why are you so amazing?!
He is beyond wise.
The above sort of leads me into this one, because it more spans across the notion that he simply knows how humans are, he understands how they work. Growing up, he was hardly restrictive, but set up unspoken ground rules for my safety and my well-being.
He wouldn’t let me dye my hair when I was a teenager, which, going through a “goth” phase I wanted more than anything. I’m thankful, now, because my natural hair color is amazing and I’ve never tarnished it and have no interest in doing so. It’s like he knew this would happen…!
He put up with all of my phases, too. My dark and broody pre-teen “depression” and my weird, nerdy internet gaming phase… he handled it, because he knew that if he restricted me, I’d just get mixed up in stupid shit. I have a few friends like this now — their parents were very free and willing to let them do what they wanted in youth, and now they are smart and wise adults. Whereas the kids whose parents suffocated them, they all rebelled in silent ways — sneaking out at night, getting high and drunk at fourteen, whatever — they’re all into it now, shooting up on the weekends and not giving a damn about “the real world.” It’s sad, really, it is, but I’m so thankful everyday that my dad was wise enough to raise me to be smart, not reckless. I mean, hell, he didn’t stop me when I almost took an internship in Iceland, he didn’t stop me from moving to New York City, he has never tried to stop any hobbies I’ve had, or tried to push me out of the door on a weekend after a long week at work.
Likewise, I can ask him for advice on anything, and he has seen enough and experienced enough to know a proper answer. Like I said, he knows everything, seriously. Any bind I am ever in, he is the light at the end of the tunnel. I was mugged a few nights ago outside my apartment. Some kid stole my phone right out of my hand and took off running. I had a long panic attack until I was able to speak with him, as with most problems I face. Nothing is ever right until I hear his voice and he sets me straight, because truthfully, he is the only person who can calm me down. A lot of my friends’ parents would have told them to pack up and move back home, or to look into investing in a weapon, or to move to a new neighborhood at least. But my dad knows. He realizes that low-life teens are everywhere. Hell, even in my uppity white high school, things were getting stolen from me all the time. Instead, my dad calmed me down, told me he had already talked to the cell company and gotten everything situated, and to go buy myself a new phone the next day, because everything would be alright, because I’m alive and safe and unharmed, because the world goes on. I know he is internally freaking out, worried sick about my safety, but still he is not holding me back. I don’t know whether that is thoughtful, or just stupid, but I appreciate it no less.
He is a man of routine.
On a lighter note… if there is one thing that friends and family know about my father, it is his routine. I know at any given minute what my father is most likely doing, and I love that about him. It makes calling him really easy. I know not to call on Saturdays or Sundays between 11am and 2pm, because he is most likely not going to answer as he is doing yardwork. Whereas if I call too early on the weekends, I might wake him up from a post-newspaper nap on the couch, which he would thank me for.
His routine is great, and sensible. Part of it almost always includes hanging out with his brother, my uncle, the other Best Dad Ever that I know. My uncle is like my second dad, and another one of my best friends. Their relationship is something I really, really admire. They are constantly in touch, always there for each other, getting each others’ backs when they most need it. They are so fundamentally different as people, but still the best of friends and comrades. I honestly, truly admire them.
I know that my moving across the country hasn’t been the easiest thing for him, and I hate knowing that. But above all, I know he wants me to be happy and to grow into my own and figure things out for myself. Who knows where I will be in five years, or ten years, except with my phone in my hand, talking to my dad about the weather, and the dog, and what new songs are good, and how awful people are, really. My dad is the greatest person I’ve ever met. Hell, even when I’m catching up with old friends or ex-boyfriends, they don’t care how I am, they always immediately ask, “How is your dad doing?”
“He’s good,” I always say. “Same ol’ dad, best person ever.”