I'm dedicating this post to my father in honor of Father's Day.
When I was little my dad wasn't around much. He worked shift work at one of the local plants. He picked up overtime whenever he could. I have very few solid memories of him past him flitting in and out. It was hard back then and I know I was resentful at times. See, while my mom stayed home to care for us, she stopped driving when we were still little. We rarely went anywhere. It was tough to see all my friends involved in different activities while I was sitting home. Thankfully we (my brothers and I) had great imaginations so we were rarely bored. Knowing what I know now, I believe my mom is has fear of the outdoors. She will go out but it's rare. But that's another story.
Once I hit my teens things changed. I think my dad felt more comfortable with us. We were more independent and didn't need to be watched 24/7. While my mom stayed home "to watch the house", my dad took us out on vacations. Before then we didn't go anywhere. I have some great memories. Most of our trips were both fun and educational.
He took us to Gettysburg, PA several times. We walked everywhere and learned so much history. I became enamored with Abraham Lincoln and wanted to learn everything about him after my first trip. I still have a book about women during the Civil War. I find that time period fascinating.
We also went to Virginia Beach several times. I remember walking the beautiful beach listening to the waves rolling in while the sun was rising. We would go early in the morning and collect sea shells. I remember going to my first seafood restaurant with a sunburned butt. I was lobster red all over my bottom and thighs because I forgot to put sunblock on that area. I learned a very important lesson that day. I was in extreme pain but I didn't let that stop me from eating blue shell crab. Delicious!
My father also took me to my very first hockey game when I was in 8th grade. Many times before that he would have it playing on the radio or TV but I couldn't stand listening to it. I remember begging him to change the channel. I went to my first game (Buffalo vs Detroit) and never looked back. I have many wonderful memories surrounding my dad and hockey. He was great about letting me hang out down by the glass and staying after the game to meet the players and get autographs.
Now he's a grandfather. I still remember him telling me it gave him an opportunity to do the things with them that he missed with us. It didn't make me sad or upset. It made me happy that he wanted to create special memories with them.
He definitely drives me nuts. He's a stubborn no-it-all with a temper at times. But he's great with my kids and I know he would do anything with him. I appreciate all he does for them. He might have not always been the best father early on but he wasn't ready. He's like wine...he's gotten better with time.
Thank you dad for being a great dad and a wonderful grandfather (aka grandpa or grandpy). I love you!