Hey all! On this particular day I am going to get a little personal. On this day 13 years ago my dad passed away after a super brief, but brutal, battle with cancer. This number is significant to me because this year marks half of my life that he has not been around, and for some reason that has really been on my mind. Now this post is not meant to make you feel sorry for me. I absolutely hate when people use personal tragedies from their past to get attention. This is not at all what I plan to do. Instead I am going to use this post to try to start this time of year out positively. This is typically pretty hard for me. I know without a doubt where my dad is, but that doesn’t mean I just stop missing his presence down here. So this year I am going to share a post filled with 13 memories of my dad, all meant to be positive and to not at all do anything else besides help me start this day off on the right foot.
- JOKES: My dad was always more than willing to joke with us. I remember that whenever he would leave for work we would tell jokes as he walked out the door, and he would stay standing there until we were pretty much finished. Were these jokes the dumbest jokes in the world? Yes. Did the jokes even make sense? Hardly ever. But he participated and made us feel like we were the funniest kids ever. I can’t imagine how early he had to prepare to leave some days in order to be done with all our dumb jokes.
- IMPRESSIONS: My dad did many many many voices and impressions. I loved when he would read to us and do the most ridiculous voices to read the titles and we would laugh and tell him to read it normal and he would do a different ridiculous voice. He voiced all the characters (my mom did too) and made us really enjoy reading. He also did this KILLER Grover impression of the whole Near and Far thing and I still, to this day, can remember it. His Grover voice was the best.
- MUSIC: He had a fierce love of music. This isn’t just that he was listening to music constantly (which he was) but he also wrote his own. He was the man in charge of the music when we were to head on road trips (which you can ask my mom about I’m sure, because I’m sure she appreciated packing all by herself so that the tunes would be perfection).
- GUITAR: My dad was constantly playing guitar. I remember him trying to get playing time nearly every single day. He was in the worship band at our church and would play with friends all the time. He was even in a band at some point, though I cannot for the life of my remember the name or anything like that. I just remember my dad practicing his guitar and sometimes, in the morning, I would hear it through the vents of the house.
- CAMPING/VACATION: My dad and mom always made sure that we took one fun trip a year. Every summer we would vacation before the 4th of July. We would camp around Minnesota, South Dakota, Michigan, Missouri, etc. And they would always make sure that there was something fun for us to do. I remember crossing the headwaters of the Mississippi and going to so many petting zoos and playing many many games of mini golf.
- 4TH OF JULY: This was a yearly tradition. His hometown has a celebration for the 4th every year. As a kid this is where I would spend my entire day. First was the kiddie parade, which I was a regular participant in. Then there was hanging out with his side of the family which lead up to the grand parade. These were some of the best times, and I still go to their 4th of July celebrations. I struggled going there at first, but as I started to make memories of my own I realized I could still be there and remember my dad without being sad. I loved this tradition.
- MN TWINS: My dad was a huge baseball fan. This was his team, and it eventually became our team. On his birthday the year that he died we went to a Twins game. This was the first Twins game for my siblings and I, and he was so excited to show us everything. I could tell that this was his happy place, and after leaving the game we walked to our car and I remember random people on the streets asking us who won and my dad shouting TWINS WON! TWINS WON! and looking so happy. This was the year that the Twins won the division for the first time in YEARS and almost made it to the World Series. My dad was watching them in the hospital. The game was on the day that he died. They definitely hold a special place in my heart filled with so many wonderful memories.
- ENGINEER DAYS: I started attending public school in 6th grade (I was in 8th grade when he died). Those two years of my public school career that he was alive for he came with other co-workers to teach us about engineering. I absolutely loved having my dad at my school. I seriously thought it was the coolest thing ever. He got to see where I went each day and who I hung out with and got to meet my teachers (though in 7th grade that did NOT end so well. Another story for another time..). Yes, I did get to actually do things. I remember building bridges with marshmallow and toothpicks, but that’s about it. I just remember being over the moon that my dad was there. This is one of my favorite memories from middle school.
- HE MADE US TRY: I went out for basketball, which I am NOT AT ALL right for. I was once told I had the Simonson Jump Shot, but it seems every other pat of my basketball game was a complete and total failure. I would probably not have played softball so early on in life if it wasn’t for him. I became a lifeguard and swimming lesson teacher because that is what he wanted for me (man, did my mom play the dead dad card on me there). He had me face my fear of dogs (guys, I was chased by giant dogs as a child ok…it all makes sense why I was scared) by buying our first puppy Pearl (and man do I miss that dog).
- HE WAS ALWAYS THERE: Literally, he was always there. He would clock out of work at the same time every day and be home every night in time for supper and in time to see us. How do I remember this? My dog had it figured out and she would wait next to the door when it was time for him to come home. (Be proud of me, it took me this long to tear up. Because how do you tell your dog that he’s never coming home? She did that for weeks after he died).
- HE WAS SUPPORTIVE: He was at every single one of my softball games since I could remember. I started playing competitive softball a 11 I think? He was at every game giving me pointers and cheering me on. Even when he was sick he tried his hardest to make it. I quit softball after 8th grade. That was my first softball season without him. I just couldn’t look back and not see him. I couldn’t handle not hearing him. My mom always told me I would regret it and he would hate it, but I don’t regret it. I regret not keeping up with it at least for fun, but I don’t regret quitting. It was too much and I needed to stop. I probably could have been pretty decent, but oh well. I can’t look back and regret it.
- STRICT PARENTING: After reading all of this you may find it shocking that he was strict. BUT OH MY GOSH HE WAS. There were many movies I was not allowed to watch and many TV shows. There were books that he wasn’t going to let us read (THANKS MOM FOR GETTING HIM TO APPROVE OF HARRY POTTER!). I don’t really think I missed out. I never watched Power Rangers or Pokemon, and I honestly don’t care. Sometimes I wonder if I’m better off for it. I am not addicted to video games because he limited our daily computer time to only 30 minutes. I am kind of glad for it, even if I sometimes make the joke that I was deprived as a child.
- STRONG EXAMPLE OF FAITH: My family background is a Christian background, and my dad was seriously one of the best examples I could have had. He was kind, he was caring, and he looked to God in the good and bad times. He showed us the importance of talking to others about what we believe, and he showed us the importance of having that quiet time to read, study, and pray. This is an example I still look up to and still strive to live up to. I only hope that I can be just as he was in his journey with Faith.
I miss my dad every single day, and some days are so much harder than others. But throughout it all I have learned and I have grown and I think I have been able to use my experiences through this loss in the best possible way (though not all the time). I could add so many more memories to this list, so many memories that I treasure each and every day. My dad is still my hero, and I cannot wait to see him again one day.