Sunday, June 20, 2010

father's day: the men in my life.

I’m not really good with my words when it comes to talking about my family, specifically my parents. But it’s Father’s Day, so I feel I at least have to try.

St. Patrick's Day 2010. Spoiler alert: this gives away my last name!

First and foremost I celebrate my father. Although he seems to not have the strongest grasp on how to be a parent to a 23-year-old daughter, he was always a rock star when I was growing up.

He dressed me in Yankees uniforms and sunglasses, gave me bath time fauxhawks with shampoo and let me wear his massive headphones. He took my brother and I on countless trips to the local park and tied bandanas around our heads, which we thought was the coolest thing ever.

Saturdays were my mother’s “day off” most weeks. He would make us pancakes and French toast for breakfast while we watched PeeWee’s Playhouse. We’d have grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch and go on bike rides in the afternoon. At night he’d let us have Pop Tarts as our nighttime snack. And sometimes this happened:

Yes, this is us on top of our china closet. Probably dangerous but really fun, actually.

As I got older, our relationship has been strained a bit. Whether it’s because he didn’t exactly know what to do with a teenage daughter or because he’s just getting older and more fed up with the 9-to-5 grind, we’re just not as close as we used to be. But as much as he seems like a crotchety old man sometimes, I know he’s a softy at heart and that he’ll always love me; I’m always going to be his little girl. And I can always count on him to dance the twist with me.

Lyndsay's Sweet 16, June 2007.

Father’s Day is also dedicated to my grandfathers who love me with great big hearts. My paternal grandfather, my pop-pop, passed away when I was only six or seven years old, so I was just getting to know him. What I do know his that underneath his tough exterior was a man whose heart melted for all of his grandchildren.

My maternal grandfather is the most generous and loving person I have ever known, and is the proudest grandfather ever. He still talks about my piano-playing days and dancing with great fondness. I was blessed to be his very first grandchild and spent countless weekends at my grandparents’ shore house. He taught me how to swim and how to work hard. When we visited him, he took my brother and me with him to pick up the paper and always let us get candy.

My Grandpa's 80th birthday, July 2009.

And finally, I owe my Uncle Russ a bit of praise and love for all he’s done for me in recent years. When I was little I was terrified of him because he was taller than six feet (issues, I haz them). Obviously I’ve grown out of that fear and now he’s like another father to me. I spent a good chunk of my teenage years at his house because my cousin Lyndsay is his daughter.

He helped me get an internship in college and has given me a bit of good advice in the past couple of years, but always makes sure to counter the seriousness by being a total goofball most of the time. He's a technology guru and is pretty much always behind the camera.

Thanksgiving 2007.

I am so very lucky to have such wonderful men in my life who have taught me what a stand-up guy is supposed to be like. They are all loving, protective, and work incredibly hard for the people in their lives. Any man I seriously consider marrying in the future is going to have to live up to all of these examples, so I'll just say this: good luck, future husband.