My Dad and I Have a Deal (He’s Yet to Agree to It)

Jun 24, 2015 by

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          “I could do this and make millions of dollars,” my dad said to me on our way home from downtown late Saturday afternoon after celebrating Father’s Day early. “I got enemies, got a lot of enemies,” he mocked Drake’s Energy as it played on the radio.

          I burst out laughing harder than I think he expected.

          “What?” he smiled.

          “It’s just funny that of all the people you could have basically just said you could be,” I began through laughter, “you chose Drake. Christal, my old roommate, thinks you’re the definition of YOLO. Drake made YOLO.”

          “What’s YOLO?” my dad asked.

          “It stands for ‘you only live once,’” I explained to the man who’s been encouraging my sisters and I to live life since the days we were born.

 

***

 

          Since Father’s Day was a few days ago, let’s talk about my dad. Ideally, I would have written this in time for Father’s Day, but it’s more appropriate this way. I’m late for everything and so is he. Like father, like daughter! I’m smirking as I write this. “Like father, like daughter” is one of the highest compliments I could pay myself. I’m daughter to the best father. My three sisters would agree. Being his children, you’d think we’re bias, but you know your dad is legit the best dad in the world when you’ve had friends back you on that statement.

          My dad was simply meant to be a father. Ironically, he didn’t always want kids. I find this funny to think about. The idea of my dad without children is unreal to me. Obviously, I don’t know him without children, but that’s not why I find it so hard to imagine. It’s that he absolutely loves kids. When my sisters and I outgrew Wonderland, he started taking my little cousins.

          I’ve never known any parent to go as far above and beyond for his or her children than my dad has for us. My dad has made my sisters and I his world for as long as we’ve been a part of it. When we were kids, he took us to Wonderland once per week in the summers. If we missed a week, we went twice the next. We also got to go to Wasaga once every two weeks under the same condition: if we missed one time, we made it up the following week. FYI: He was totally the kind of dad that let us keep swimming during thunderstorms. (See? YOLO.) Afterward, he’d take us to eat wherever we wanted, even if that meant driving to multiple places because we all wanted something different. As we grew up, his willingness to do anything for us never waivered. Before I could drive, he used to pick each of my friends up from their respective houses, drive us all downtown to some club, pick us up at 3 am, and drive everyone home. Once I had my license and before I got my own car, I basically owned his whenever he wasn’t working. My fake-ID years were largely made possible by my dad’s car keys, which were usually in my hand by midnight at the latest. While I was in university, my dad would drive boxes of olive oil and other survival aids to me in Guelph. Speaking of, he’s helped me with every single one of my moves – and I moved so many times between the ages of 17 and 24 that I’ve lost count. Since December 2011, Christmas carols will forever remind me of painting my beautiful apartment alongside my dad. Some nights I’d get home from work to find him already there to help. He’s hung my damn pictures in a perfect rectangle for me twice now. (Dad, I apologize in advance for the next time I need to transport those frames.)

          But things like childhood adventures and weekend trips to Niagara and drives to the airport and oil changes aside, my dad is an incredible parent not only because he does what he does for his daughters without question; he is a model parent because he also encourages us to do as we do. He’s never been protective, restrictive, or authoritative. Since always, he has promoted happy living, thrown wisdom our way via suggested reading instead of lectures, and genuinely appreciated our opinions. Empowering children to think and choose for themselves while emphasizing the importance of living well is the best gift a parent can give. That’s what my dad gave to me: freedom, independence, and ongoing support as I discovered the lessons he let me learn for myself.

 

***

 

          “Dad, remember, you’re going to live until you’re 104 and I’m going to live until I’m 70 – I’m cool with that; that’s a lot of life – and then we’re going to die at the exact same time,” I often remind my father. “Deal?”

          “That’s not realistic, babe,” he replies every single time.

          “Dad,” I laugh at his typical response, “just go with it, okay?”

 
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