An Ode to Dad

This Father’s Day will be the first without my father being physically alive. I say it this way because I hear him in my head everyday, I see him in my mind and heart through every belly laugh my son belts out and everything reminds me of him. He has been gone almost 8 months and yet it feels like a lifetime and just yesterday all at once. This post is not about my mourning, my sorrow, how lost I feel or how hard these past few months have been. This post is about my dad, the hilarious, selfless, deeply loving, insanely frustrating man that was my father, Larry.

My dad worked a lot when my brother and I were little. He worked full time at a radio station doing farm broadcasting and pulling pranks on a  morning radio show. On the weekends he would travel all over the country and announce rodeos. To this day my favorite thing is to see people’s faces when I tell them my dad was a rodeo announcer. It’s one of those professions that people forget exist, so it sounds so exotic to them. Sometimes we would go to these rodeos with him. My favorite memories are of controlling the sound during the rodeo, pressing play when the cowboy came out on that bucking bronco and pressing pause as soon as he fell off. I also remember the few times a bull got loose, especially the time one tried to climb the ramp to the announcers booth. I also remember the time my dad was doing a sound check before a show while my brother and I horsed around on the bull pens and I cracked my head wide open. Most people would be traumatized by this, but I remember how cool my dad made me feel for having a hole in my head. He made not being able to swim under water at the extremely coveted hotel pool, more fun than anyone could imagine.

My dad LOVED peanut butter, and I mean loved it. I have a distinct memory, I was like 8 or 9, and I had a peanut butter cookie and dropped it on the driveway, it landed right in an ant covered crack. My dad scooped it up in seconds and ate it, while I looked on in horror. He looked at me like I was the crazy one, why would I ever waste good peanut butter? Especially in cookie form. Up until the day he died, whenever I made cookies he would be hovering in the kitchen. When I deemed the cookies cool enough to eat, I would go back in the kitchen, one would already be gone and I would find my dad frantically drinking a glass of cold milk to help cool his cookie burnt mouth.

My dad loved my mother in a way even fairytales couldn’t recreate. I remember a multitude of tender loving moments between them from my earliest memories to the day he died. He loved her fiercely and that was one of the things I admired most about him. With all of the nasty relationships and stories you hear, it was so grounding to be raised by something to pure, so true and so simple. They just loved each other, truly and deeply and that was it. I try to take a page out of that book daily, because their love story was truly phenomenal.

My dad was selfless, selfless to a point of being selfish. A trait I most definitely inherited. He would wait on my mother and I like we were royalty. When my son was born it was like it wasn’t even my responsibility. My dad always made sure I was sleeping enough, fed enough and happy enough. He would stay up with my son at all hours, would wake me to nurse, and then take him back from me when I was done. Even when I tried to do things myself he swept in, always the savior. Sometimes it was frustrating, I wanted to have those special late night moments alone with my son, but honestly it was just incredible and very helpful for a full time working mom who was very cranky.

He was so selfless that he didn’t even see his death coming, or if he did he ignored it. I recently went to a therapist for the first time in my life and when I told her this about my dad, she replied “Oh, so the same thing you’re doing with your depression”? That statement hit me like a ton of bricks. Because she was right. I was doing exactly what my dad used to do, because I am a lot like him. Most of the traits that irritated me the most about him are things I dislike about myself. But, some of things I like most are things I got from him. My twisted sense of humor, my passion for the theatre and creativity. My ability to forget about anybody else and play make believe in the middle of a store with my 2 year old son. As well as my utmost desire to make sure everyone around me are the happiest they can absolutely be, whilst often forgetting about myself.

My dad was amazing. I know a lot of people feel that way about their dads and I really hope you do about yours. Larry was so alive when he was with us, that his absence is very loud and painful. Yet, he is still with me, in all the afore mentioned memories and many more. So let’s raise our glasses and have an extra scoop of peanut butter to my dad and yours this Father’s Day. Cherish every moment, I know I did.

 

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