When I was running this morning I was thinking about my dad. I really don't want to say that we have a complicated relationship because that makes it sound like the relationship is BAD or fraught with drama or resentment and that's not the case. It's more that my dad is *somewhat* of a stereotypical Italian male and in many ways I am NOT your stereotypical Italian female :) (As a side note: I generally dislike stereotypes but there are too many stereotypical shows out there right now re: Italians--Cake Boss, RHONJ and of course the older but much-loved Sopranos...) Anyway, I was actually thinking that I am not a stereotypical (Italian) female because of my dad which is actually kind of funny/ironic. My dad nurtured my sense of curiosity from an early age and never made me feel that I couldn't or shouldn't do anything because I was female. Among other things, he taught me how to read a map, use tools/assemble almost anything, work on my car, understand the stock market and to love sports (notably, Auburn football and Atlanta Braves baseball).
We don't talk on the phone all that often, but I know that I can call him at ANY time and for anything. We actually have talked a bit on the phone more recently and had some wonderful conversations, but I know not something likely to materialize on a regular basis. That being said, my dad has never met a stranger and he has an amazing ability to relate to people from all walks of life.
My dad and I are both highly emotional/sensitive and either of us are more likely to tear up at the little things in every day life than at a funeral (though we both cry at those too). I am highly driven and much of my early drive stemmed from not wanting to disappoint my dad in any aspect of my life. I am sure I have disappointed him many times anyway, but I know he is incredibly proud. School programs, dance recitals, band concerts and everything in between he was ALWAYS there. He is the dad that would introduce himself to my band directors/college professors/other random people who were in a superior role to me, and with tears in his eyes, thank them for the role they serve, not only to me but to the group at large. Used to be soooo embarrasing but now I know, that's just my dad. And now? I actually find it kind of endearing.
At the "Monkey Park" (1981)
He took me to the park and to get ice cream as a child (a Sunday tradition); taught me the transactional value of the dollar and the rewards of hard work; paid my out of state tuition even when times were tough; reminded me that at the end of the day, we only have our "name" to fall back on...to treat others with fairness and respect and usually the favor will be returned.
To say that I love my dad is an understatement. Our relationship may not always look like a Hallmark card, but it's OUR relationship to nurture and grow and for that I am grateful.
Happy Father's Day!
Auburn Football Game (2009 or 2010)