It's interesting- the older I get, the more respect and love I have for my dad. He is a man of unbelievable patience, longsuffering, intelligence, and goofy humor. Life has not really dealt him an easy hand. But he has done amazing things with what he's been given.When I think of my dad, I think of:
- math help in junior high and high school. We all took it for granted that Dad would be there to help us figure out the wiles of algebra, trig, and calculus, and he was! Sometimes late into the night. And he never got fed up with us, even though I probably deserved it sometimes when it was 11 PM and I was pouting.
- Long, thoughtful discussion and discourses about the gospel during family scripture study. This was something I came to appreciate more the older I got. When I started taking seminary classes in ninth grade, my teacher was impressed by the depth of my scriptural knowledge, something I can mostly chalk up to my dad's tutoring.
-Laughter! My dad has one specific laugh that I just love- it's his laugh for when something so unexpected and so surprising and so delightfully funny happens that he can't help but burst out with a laugh. Also, for a while when I was a teenager, there was an unintentional Sunday dinner tradition that Dad would start telling a joke, but have to re-start it several times before making it all the way through the punchline because he'd be laughing so hard. Usually Tim was sitting next to him and Tim would also start laughing, which would make Dad laugh harder. The rest of us would usually start giggling in sympathy after a while. The jokes were never as funny as watching Dad and Tim laugh.
- Piano music. He doesn't have as much time for it as he used to, but I have wonderful memories of "dancing" around the living room while Dad played the piano when I was a child. He really was quite an accomplished pianist- and still is, although his skills are a little rusty at present. One thing that makes me more nostalgic than just about anything else is hearing Chopin piano pieces.
- A sense of humor. Maybe this should be coupled with laughter. But to finish up, I can't resist sharing how a couple of my brothers have chosen to celebrate Father's day in the past (when, to their credit, they were much, much younger).
One of my brothers wrote my dad a very nice Father's Day card that read,
"Roses are red
"Violets are blue
"some dads are nice
"So are you."
Which can only be topped by another card he received which read,
"Dear dad, even though you're not famous, I still love you."
On another occasion, one of my brothers decided that for a Family Home Evening lesson on Fathers' Day, we should all look up scriptures about fathers. He found a couple in the index and didn't bother to review them before he read them out loud to us. So he was rather surprised when he found himself reading this scriptural gem out loud:
"And because he had fallen from heaven, and had become miserable forever, he asought also the misery of all mankind. Wherefore, he said unto Eve, yea, even that old serpent, who is the devil, who is the father of all blies . . ." (2 Nephi 2:18)
The moral of the story is that a little preparation goes a long way. Also, to my dad's credit, he laughed harder than the rest of us when the verse was read.
Happy Fathers' Day, Dad.