Twin Sisters: The following post is an account according to me. Your memories may be different than mine. In fact, they most likely are. Please don't feel like you need to correct me. I'm okay with being wrong from time to time. I'm okay with my false memories. Just let it go.)
Today is the day I envy all the "Daddy's Girl"s out there. Today is the day I wonder, "Huh. What would it have been like to have a real dad?" Not that my dad isn't real. He is. It's just... well... he is lacking. I mean, I know he tried and often times he probably had the best intentions, but, well, that didn't always come through. And let's just leave it at that.
Instead of dwelling on the negative, today is a day to focus on the positive. Therefore, I present to you, the Father Figures of my life (because I wasn't
damaged raised by just one man).
(Please note, unless otherwise specified, none of these men are deceased. Some of them are just no longer in my life anymore. It's easier to use past tense.)
Father Figures of the Familial Type
(shown with my youngest nephew. Photo taken by someone else and stolen from my sister's Facebook page.)
There are a few great memories I have of me and my dad. I remember he used to make Mickey Mouse shaped pancakes for breakfast on the weekends. I'm pretty sure he's the reason I love grilled cheese because I think that was what we ate after my mom left. I don't recall him being all that great of a cook, but he used to take us to the only "restaurant" in town, Big Daddy's, for dinner. We always ordered grilled cheese. I still order it whenever I go to a diner. He's the reason I can't drive by a shipyard or smell diesel fuel and grease without reminiscing about my childhood and the times we used to spend on his ship. I'm pretty sure he's also the reason I knew how to read before Kindergarten (him and Sesame Street and Wheel of Fortune). My dad used to read us books before bed. He used to quiz us on the pictures too, so I'm pretty sure he's responsible for my partial-photographic memory and my mad skills of observation.
(photo taken by me
at his 55th 54th 56th 57th on his birthday.)
My step-dad is a man of few words. Thankfully, my step-dad never really stepped (pardon the pun) into the pseudo-father role. Which is good. Otherwise I probably would have disliked him just like I disliked my step-mom who jumped right into the pseudo-mom role. I know he still worked behind the scenes when it came to "dragging" us kids up though. My step-dad is probably responsible for many of my views in life and some of the things I know.
He taught me how to change a tire (not that I necessarily remember, but hey, he tried). He tolerated my sisters and I whenever we got it into our heads to repaint our bedrooms and furniture. And he was always there (well, in the workshop) when we needed help. Whenever various boyfriends/friends got stuck in the muddy/snowy/icy driveway, he was right there with his tractor, ready to pull them out with barely a grumble of complaint.
While a little gruff around the edges, my step-dad had a soft heart and would do anything for anyone. He offered to give his kidney to his best friend when he got sick, and he and my mom used to joke about opening their own nursing home because they cared for the aging family members. Plus, he puts up with my mom, and trust me, that ain't an easy thing to do.
And when it comes to water gun fights, he doesn't mess around. Garden hose always trumps Super Soaker.
(My grandfather passed away in 2000 as the result of an accident. I can't believe it's been ten years.)
My dad's dad was the greatest, nicest man I've ever known. All men in my life get measured against my grandfather. If there was anyone in my life I wanted to make proud, it was my grandfather. I miss him everyday.
My grandfather taught me about lazy Sundays and how to spend the afternoon playing solitaire and doing crossword puzzles. Reading the Sunday Funnies was always better when he was visiting. And he always brought doughnuts. Lunch on Sundays was an event with cold cuts and sandwiches.
My sisters and I used to watch out the window for the arrival of my grandfather. And we always looked forward to the slide shows he would show us at night. We didn't know most of the people in the pictures he showed us, but it was cool to see where he'd been on his last vacation. And he always had tons of slides of the grand kids that we giggled over.
Visiting my grandfather was so much fun. We were allowed to ride our bikes around the neighborhood and on the campus of the college in town. He would take us to his old offices in the athletic department and show us off. We learned to shoot pool in his basement. He would hire a couple of baby-sitters to watch my sisters, my cousins and I while the adults went out for dinner. We'd watch rented movies, eat delivery pizza and play games the sitters taught us.
And he always returned our noses to us in the same condition as when he stole them.
Father Figures of the Academic Type
Mr. E and Mr. R.
(Sorry, no photos available)
Mr. E. was my 4th grade teacher, and he introduced me to hobbies. His was stamp collecting. Mine is procrastination. Well, can't win 'em all.
Mr. R. was my 6th grade teacher. He introduced me to the joys of contemplating life in the middle of the woods and in graveyards. He introduced me to writing poetry and drawing while surrounded by nature.
Mr. T. and Mr. B.
(again, no photos available)
Mr. T. was my 7th grade, 9th grade, and 10th grade social studies teacher (it was a small school). Mr. T. was the only person to ever ask me what it was I wanted to do with my life. When I told him I wanted to work with kids and bake, he didn't mock me, but asked me how I intended on accomplishing that. I'm still working on it.
Mr. B. was one of my science teachers. He was also the only person to ever suggest that I could have been more than an art teacher. He's also the person who told me I could have gone into science, despite the fact that I barely passed physics (in all honesty, I barely even tried). Of course, I didn't hear any of this until after I became an art teacher. In all fairness, if he had tole me that in high school, I wouldn't have listened any way.
Mr. L. was my soccer coach from 9th grade to 12th grade. He pushed me to try my hardest, he wouldn't let me give up, ever, and most importantly, he saw right through me. He knew what my problem was before I did. He knew when I was bullshitting him before I even opened my mouth. And he didn't let me get away with anything. He was the only person in my life to confront me when I was self-destructing. He never accepted excuses from me and he was always there for me whenever I needed him.
So, while technically today is Father's Day, I'd like to say thank you and wish all the Father Figures out there a Happy Father's Day.