Sunday, March 20, 2011

Happy Birthday Dad!!!!

Me and my dad

Today my dad turns 64. His birthday is always the first day of spring and it's the day after my Aunt Margie's birthday. Every year, they go out to dinner to celebrate their birthdays. I think it's sweet.

What can I say about my dad? When I was little, he never gave us anything for free. We had to work hard to get anything we asked for. I remember asking for a leather jacket for several years straight for Christmas and after three years, I finally got one. He and my mom wanted to make sure it was something that I really wanted, and not just some passing phase. As a kid, I thought it was mean that I was the only kid without a leather jacket, but they were easily $120 and knowing what I know now, they were brilliant to make us wait.
June 2010

Wrightsville Beach, NC  Labor Day 2010

At The Oceanic  (2010)

If we wanted to go somewhere that required money, I hated having to ask my dad. Once I wanted to go roller skating at Skateland. I had asked my mom if I could go and she said the dreaded four word phrase... "Go ask your father." This almost ALWAYS would lead to a no answer. My dad would ask if it required money, and if it did, he said no. :(

The worst thing that I remember about my dad while growing up was the "Five Minute Routine." This lovely little thing was when he'd give us five-minutes to clean our rooms and he'd come up and check. If it wasn't 100% to his liking, he spanked us. This would lead to us sitting in our rooms screaming and crying because we just got spanked... and take up a good three minutes of our five-minute window. Two minutes later, he'd be back to check and we'd get another spanking. I'm not sure how long this went on for, as I've blocked most of it out of my memory.

My dad could be a bit harsh when it came to discipline. Kneeling on our bare knees on the linoleum tile in the kitchen wasn't out of the question for him. It happened after Scott threw spaghetti at me, I moved to avoid it and instead, my dad came in and saw spaghetti on the window... neither of us would confess to throwing the noodle and we were both punished. Scott always had a "I don't give a shit" attitude about things like discipline, but I hated being in trouble. I would cry and swear that I didn't do it, but it didn't phase my dad. He just wanted one of us to confess... and EVERY time I would lie and say it was me, just to end the misery. Scott would go about his merry way with a big shit-eating grin on his face... and I'd be devastated.

My parents didn't have a lot of money when I was growing up. I never felt poor, but looking back as an adult, we didn't have much and if we weren't poor, we were definitely lower-middle-class. This didn't seem to matter though. We always went on a family vacation for a good two weeks and we saw so much of the USA. I think my love and passion for social studies came from actually seeing the places that I was learning about in school. I loved vacations with my parents... and some of my most cherished memories are from vacations together as a child.

The Grand Canyon (1986)

My love for camping came as a child from my dad. He'd come home from working all day on Friday and we'd beg him to drive us to the UP for camping. We'd arrive in the UP at like 3 or 4am and then set up our tent in the middle of the night, and then come back home on Sunday. We did this often, and I'm sure my dad had other things he'd rather do, but he always had the time to take us camping! 

Now while camping... we always had to roll the tent a certain way... and pack things a certain way. I HATED folding the damn tarp... it was the worse. My dad would pull really hard to get dirt off, and then yell at us when we dropped the tarp because we weren't strong enough to hold it. LOL

Anyway... I hit my teen years, and unfortunately, instead of getting closer with my dad, I actually withdrew completely. Don't get me wrong, I loved him, and in all actuality, I needed him MORE than ever before, but I just attached myself to my mom. It seemed like I was always disappointing him, and the worse feeling in the world is when you let down someone you care about.

When I was asked to leave MSU due to my grades, I remember him telling me that he was very disappointed in me, and he point blank asked me if I was stupid. When I said no, he told me to stop acting like it. OUCH. Sometimes words come out and hurt more than they're intended to... and the effect is long-lasting. 

I think I finally got closer to my dad when I met Steve. When I went through my divorce, it was BAD. Not just emotionally, but financially, and my dad was there to help me (thankfully). However, I never felt like I was doing what he wanted, and I always felt like a disappointment when I had to ask to borrow/have money. Thankfully, he always had the money to lend/give me, and didn't make me feel too bad about it, but it sucked so much to have to ask him for money. I guess that's the way it's supposed to be.

Oceanic (2010)

Oceanic (2008)

Cider Mill (2009)

Thanksgiving Day Parade (2006)

The best thing in the world is to see my dad interact with Gus. He's such a big softie and it's wonderful to see him gush about his grand kids. And it's all of them... he loves Eamon, Aine, and Benton. He loves Alex and Lily, and he has a very special place in his heart for Gus. I think he loves Gus so much because we lived in their house for the first two months of Gus's life.

With Jessica at the Baptism Luncheon

My dad is pretty shy and quiet when you first meet him. He's a bit of an introvert, but once you get to know him, he's awesome. He has a great sense of humor and is one of the funniest guys you'll ever come across. He's always very smart. Crazy smart, actually. My favorite thing to do with my dad is play Guitar Hero with him. He's so fun to play against... and now that all of us kids have it, it's fun to play on the Wii Connect even though we're in different states. My dad also likes to sing on the Wii with me. We play American Idol Karaoke Revolution and I end up crying because I'm laughing so hard. He doesn't care... he just keeps singing... I think he does it because he knows I like it, and no one else will play it with me.

Opening the Wii that we gave him for Father's Day 2008

Here are some of my other favorite pictures of my dad:
With Corey (2010)

With Lily (2010)

Wrightsville Beach, NC  (2010)

At Mamma Mia's... always a good time. He ordered a cup of soup... this is what they gave him!!

Anniversary Dinner 2006

Eating all the ice cream at my starter wedding... 2001

With Jake (RIP)

Waaaaay back in the day

Key West, FL

With Hurmin

Mackinac Island with Eamon (2004)

My starter wedding (2001)

With my Grandma Ghrist (on left) and her sister Bertha (on right)

My starter wedding (2001)

In the USS North Carolina (2008)

Christmas 2006

Seeing Heywood Banks at the comedy club (November 2006)

At Nicholas's Wedding (2005)

Lily's Baptism (October 2009)

With his mom... my Grandma Ghrist (My starter wedding 2001)

Labor Day 2005-- He had wood... hahahaha

The Antler's with my mom (Labor Day Weekend)

USS North Carolina

Lily's Baptism

Dad's famous TURDUCKIN!

Easter with Jack and Mary Breeding (2006)

So this is for my dad. I hope I can be as good a mom to Gus as you've been a dad to me. You've taught me that my word is the most important thing I can give someone, and once I misuse someone's trust, it's impossible to get back. You've taught me that my integrity is the most important thing that I have, and to always do the right thing. I knew early on that 1 is the identity element, even though I had no idea what it meant. I hated having to ask you for math help because it hurt me as much as it hurt you. You showed me that I can be anything I want to be and to always give my best effort, no matter who is or isn't there to see it.

Most importantly, you showed me that if I have something that someone needs, it's always better to give it to them and worry about how I'll manage later. You always give so much to others, and never ask questions. People respect you and always know where they stand with you. It's a quality that I think I have.

Happy birthday dad. I love you more today than yesterday, and less than tomorrow!
14 years ago today... giving 50 spankings for his 50th birthday

The Detroit Thanksgiving Day Parade (2006)

At Frankenmuth (2009)

At the cider mill (2009)


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