Almost a month late, and I would say that's a trait I got from him, but I can perfectly picture him sitting in the car in the driveway waiting for the everyone else to pile in the car while we are already 30 minutes behind our anticipated leaving time for a family event. If there's one thing about my dad, it's that he is not the late one in the family.
But there are many traits that I would say I got from my dad. Most obviously, the height. Then the love of writing. The love of music. The sense of humor. The love of road trips, Actually, while I write this I am simultaneously planning his and my road trip together and watching the NFL draft, if only I was also eating pizza then I would be hitting all of his favorites.
Some may think when they first see my dad standing at a small 6'10', that he is intimidating or scary, but my dad is a lover. My friends nickname him the BFG (big friendly giant if you don't keep up with Roald Dahl books). He taught us young that the most important thing is to be kind to others and live life with an open mind. He would say that as long as we were kind to people and didn't hurt anyone, he would be happy.
He drops his life to do anything for us kids. Whether I forgot to book a plane ticket back to school so he spends two full days driving me to West Virginia, or taking time off work to drive me out to Salt Lake City, or spending time at the end of a long day to read over a paper that I finished (last minute of course), and need him to edit. There are few volleyball games I can think of of mine, that he wasn't at. And even if it wasn't us playing, he would keep a schedule of NCAA volleyball games and take us to them, or we would spend the nights watching them on TV.
Recently my mom told me that my dad started taking her on dates each month, re-auditioning to be her partner because even though they've been together for 32 years, he still wants to take her out. He's found cocktail making classes, plays, candle-making experiences, and new restaurants for them to try together. A reminder that no matter our age, we can always go out of our way to make the important people in our lives feel loved.
One of my most vivid memories with my dad was my junior year of high school when we took a roadtrip to Lexington, KY to visit the University of Kentucky, and then drove to Athens, OH to visit Ohio University. We sat on benches outside the main walkway of Ohio University and ate chicken wings after the woman at the restaurant joked with him that his $20 bill was a counterfeit. While we were driving around, I put the song Swingin Party by Lorde on, which at the time I thought was her song, until my dad started singing along. It was then that I found out it was The Replacements song that she had covered, and the The Replacements happened to be my dad's favorite band. Whenever I hear either version of that song now, I think of him.
I don't know if my dad remembers that trip, or Swingin Party, the wings, or the joke about the counterfeit bill. But I loved it all, it was one of the first times I remember being in my adult(ish) life, and getting to have one-on-one bonding time with my dad. The other week when he drove me back to school (for said time I forgot to book a flight back), I felt the nostalgia of that 2019 road trip come back. I posted a Q&A for my followers on Instagram to ask him questions, and I learned even more about him that day.
A little known fact about my dad, is that he plays the drums. When I left for college freshman year I had FaceTimed my parents one day and my dad proudly showed me the new drum set he had gotten and set up in our basement. Fast forward to the Q&A and someone asked if he was still playing the drums, his response was "I am still drumming. I'm no good but it makes me happy. Everyone should do things that make them happy and not give a shit if people like it - it's for you". Which I know the question was likely a silly joke, but I've thought about his answer a lot since he said it.
Aside from the fact that you can say anything with conviction and people will believe you (which is true), I would say that my dad's consistent pursuit of each of us just finding joy in our lives is the most important thing I have learned from him. He's never knocked us down from our dreams, he's pushed us each day to be better versions of ourselves, while also being true to who we are and what brings us happiness.
My dad is my biggest supporter. My own personal Discover Weekly. Also, my own personal proofreader. A converted dog-lover. The real life BFG. The ultimate girl-dad.
Happy birthday (a month late) Daddio, I love ya