April 04, 2012

D is for Dad

**This is 'D' in the A-Z series**

I remember well one of my dad's most favorite stories to tell about me as a young child. He told it often and actually still tells it from time to time. It must be one of his favorite stories. And so the story goes something like this. A long time ago, when I was really little, my family and I were on a drive out to visit some family friends. Apparently I was upset, as I often was, at my dad because I was under the impression that I was not going to be able to swim that afternoon and I had been looking forward to swimming. Unbeknownst to me, my swimsuit was en route with the rest of us because there WAS going to be swimming involved that afternoon. So anyway, my dad did something he used to do all.the.time. Oh wait, he still does this...and I'm 33. As he was driving he turned to the rest of us, his captive audience, and said, "Who loves Dad?". My mom and my brother Kelly both put their hands excitedly in the air and shouted, "I do, I do". I sat there silent, no doubt with my lip turned down and dad said, "Well, what about you Ashley?". And what did I say at the tender age of 5 or 6? "Dad, I don't love you...I don't even like you".

It can be rough to be a dad. I don't know this from experience of course, but I do know that sometimes dads get the short end of the stick. I'm not even going to try and lie and tell you that I didn't have a favorite parent growing up. I did. And it was my mom. Just like I'm not going to lie and tell you I don't have a favorite child...oh wait, yes I am ;).

My whole world revolved around my mom. We had the traditional family set up with mom at home, slaving away to raise happy children and dad off supporting the family. He traveled a lot, we didn't see him a lot, and well, mom used phrases like, "You just wait until your dad gets home!", which don't exactly instill a longing in a kid for her dad to eventually get home. I remember I got more spankings from my dad than I did from my mom too. So he was sort of the "hard" parent and my mom was the "soft" one.

When I fell off my scooter and scraped myself up, it was mom kissing and bandaging my injuries. Later when I had problems with friends, it was my mom who helped me solve them or listened as I cried. And even later still, when boys broke my heart, it was mom that I called first. Yet never once did I question that my dad loved and cherished me just as much as my mom did. I always knew he did. His love for me was as sure as the sun would rise every day. I still can't say exactly how my dad managed to let me know of his love for me though I have lots of ideas. But he did. I guess in that magical way that dads who aren't really involved with a lot of the day to day nitty-gritty manage to convey love to their kids anyway.

It was in the occasional embraces, the proud looks, the gentle guidance, and the occasional very stern reproaches that let me know I had crossed a line. It was also in quiet moments he never even knew I was aware of, like the time I fell asleep in their bed watching the Oscars when I was in the ninth grade. I weighed 100 pounds by that point and instead of waking me to go to bed, he carried me to my room, gently laid me in bed, and pulled the covers over me. I was far too big to be carried to bed, but he did it anyway. And also in the time he tried (in vain) to lovingly critique my latest poem. I was a budding poet in junior high school and I wrote an absolute masterpiece one day. I proudly showed it to my dad and he exclaimed about how wonderful it was...but there was just one problem. I had written the line, "Alas, it was the dawn of a new day". I had meant it to be happy (like, "yay! A new day is coming!") and had used the word "alas" inappropriately. My dad lovingly told me of my mistake. I was NOT appreciative at all and felt offended for days afterward. In those days, constructive criticism was not on my radar.

But I'm grateful for his guidance now. I'm pretty sure my dad never changed my diaper, brushed my teeth, or sat with me in the bathroom as I heaved into the toilet (Although, he did once take me to the emergency room when I hurt my neck. The doctor's name was Dr. Crick. True story!). But he did teach me to be strong, resilient, and to persevere. He helped mold and shape me into who I am today. He taught me the importance of education and the pitfalls of a weak mind. For these gifts I am grateful. I am now and was always aware that he loves me. And I think that is the best gift he has ever given me.


  1. I've always liked your dad. He seems very good-natured and I don't doubt how much he loves you. Moments like your dad carrying you to bed when you're too big to be carried are what dads do best. I wish mine was as interested in my life as yours is, but at least I've got a great family to make up for that void.

  2. As a dad I appreciate what you have said in this post.

    The official list is closed but that doesn't mean you still can't participate. You can do but off the list. Actually that's not as bad as it might seem because since the list is so big I thing after a few days a lot of people stop using it.

    My advice if you want to be a part of it is to post the daily letter posts like you're supposed to. Then leave a comment at a-to-zchallenge.com that you have posted for that day's letter and leave a link to your post.

    Then, using the list which can be found on the A to Z Blog, visit as many of the participating bloggers as you can, leaving a comment and your link so they can visit you back. Follow blogs whenever you see one you like and let them know you've followed in case they'd like to follow you back.

    Finally, announce your link on any social media sites you are involved with such as Facebook or Twitter, etc, You can also put your link up at the A to Z Facebook page.

    With enough networking not being on the list won't matter. In other words its network blogging as usual.

    Good luck and happy to have you join in. Be sure to send me your link to your blog with a request for me to add it to the Sunday Summary at the A to Z Blog. If you know other bloggers that would like to participate in this same way let them know--you can forward this same information to them--and I can likewise announce their blogs as unlisted participants. We had several last year who went on without being listed and they had a great time with it.

    A Few Words
    An A to Z Co-host blog


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