Like any daughter, I’ve had my share of conflicts with my dad. Many of those ended when I was a teenager, but live on in our differing memories about that time. He says I was grumpy. I say he was grumpy. Probably, we’re both right.
In any case, it’s my dad’s birthday today. His GOLDEN birthday, as it happens, since he is turning, not eight, of course, but the double-digit number of the second half of the year that he was born (19?!). And so here are eight good things about my dad. Dad’s of daughters, take note.
8. My dad is great at applying nail polish.
Long, long ago, my dad would sit and meticulously paint teeny tiny models of airplanes and soldiers with the teeniest tiniest brushes ever. He could paint the flash of light on the pupil of the eye of a two inch high solider, modeled to scale. He has scary fine-motor coordination, and would be great at, say, pediatric neurosurgery, except that he may be the most squeamish person I know. Nevertheless, it was HE who volunteered to paint my nails for me when painting my nails became a Thing. I have never seen a professional manicurist apply polish more evenly and perfectly than he.
7. My dad is sentimental — to a point.
“What do you need?” my dad asks, seeing me sidle up, exasperated look on my face, after arguing with my mom.
“Uncomplicated love!” I reply.
“Okay,” he says, opening his arms, hugging me perfunctorily, all without taking his eyes off his book.
Of course, it is exactly what I needed.
6. My dad can really draw.
5. My dad has a great sense of humor & a keen eye for detail:
4. My dad came to visit us in Scotland, Germany, AND Malawi. In the hottest, rainiest time of the year.
What is more, he walked several miles with me in that heat and rain to the favorite ex-pat restaurant, to go drink gin and tonics and eat various fried foods IN THE MORNING. Did he feel embarrassed when the Italian proprietor laughed at our choice of breakfast beverages? He did not.
3. My dad is surprisingly good in an emergency.
You wouldn’t know it, but he really is. My kids still laugh about the time that I set the oven on fire (hil-AR-ious!) and black smoke was pouring out and I was about to call the volunteer fire department when my dad — who is PART OF THE VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT — flew down the stairs in his pajama pants, extinguisher in hand, and put the fire out. And then he did it again, a few months later, when I set the oven on fire. Again.
2. My dad is an awesome grandpa.
He seldom visits without bringing temporary tattoos, new toys, a sense of fun, and a credit card for purchasing take-out food.
1. He may have Mitt Romney hair, but my dad doesn’t waver much.
He’s a steady guy. And he doesn’t just believe in or do things because that’s what everyone else is doing, or it’s what’s expected, or whatever. He doesn’t conform in order to fit someone else’s notion of what he SHOULD do or think. In other words, he really is a nonconformist. Which makes him great to talk to. Not to mention the fact that before there was Google, there was My Dad, who can search the database of his photographic memory and walk you through the process of creating a shrunken head or tanning leather. (Which, as it turns out, are similar processes.)
Happy Birthday, Dad!