Dear Dad, on this most special of days devoted to you, I can’t help but think back on the lifetime of wisdom you’ve so lovingly imparted upon me. Admittedly, I wasn’t always what you might call receptive.
Tucked into the dusty corners of my mind right next to the the relics I so rarely visit, like everything I ever learned in algebra, are those topics I’d like to dust off so I can say I’m sorry and, perhaps for the first time ever, admit that you were right. You nearly always are.
So, in the spirit of full disclosure, Dad, I’d like to apologize for:
1. Being slightly distracted when you were trying to teach me how to change a flat tire.
Or check the oil. Or that it’s never a good idea to play Russian roulette with the gas gauge. But, even more so, thanks for not saying “I told you so” every time I called you frantically from the side of the road somewhere in my pretty new pumps and full panic mode as cars whizzed by without stopping.
2. Changing the radio station when you were rocking out to Creedence Clearwater Revival or The Mamas and the Papas.
I get it now. And at the risk of inflating your ego, I credit you with my excellent taste in music and my uncanny ability to name a song before the first lyric is even delivered.
3. Bringing home that guy.
The one you said lacked respect. The one you said was a dead end. The one you said was lazy. You know, the one I was convinced was the love of my life — and the one I eventually dumped for being every single thing you warned me about.
4. Pretty much every dress or skirt I ever tried to leave the house in when I was a teenager.
5. Failing to understand the complex emotional hierarchy of your interactions.
I now realize that an invitation to watch football with you wasn’t merely a way to get me to sit down and be quiet (although it was likely that too), but it was also your special way of saying you love me more than Super Bowl Sunday.
6. Rolling my eyes whenever you make a corny joke or cliche.
The other day, I caught myself telling someone, “Two heads are better than one, even if one’s a cabbage.” So, um, thanks for that little gem.
7. For never, ever pulling your finger.
I know that ol’ trick always gives you a good chuckle and I hate denying you that momentary joy, but it’s never gonna happen, old man.
8. Not letting you take me fishing more.
Despite the gutty tackle, the squirmy bait and the insufferably long stretches of silence, I really enjoyed whiling away long afternoons on the water with you.
9. Moving 5,000 miles away on a whim for college.
Seriously, what the heck was I thinking? If my children ever drop a bomb like that on me, I don’t think I’ll take it with nearly as much grace as you. Which reminds me, will you bail me out of jail when I get busted for trying to sneak into my future college-age child’s carry-on at the airport?
10. Not reveling in every single moment we’ve spent together.
Because whether I’m 31 or 53, being your little girl never gets old.