I’ve been thinking a lot about my dad this past week. Dad and Moni (my stepmom, Monica) just visited for a few days. Since they live hundreds of miles away, their visits are infrequent and cherished. I spent the night at their house when I made the quick trip home to Humboldt in October, which was fun and made me feel more connected to them and their life now.
Maybe it’s just me (but I suspect it’s not), I still often feel like a kid wanting to show my parents what I can do. So, having my dad visit our house, play with our kids, and enjoy our hospitality was very gratifying. He and Dennis made the requisite tour around the house, as Dad gave him landscaping ideas and commented on how well situated our house was on the canyon. If you know my dad, you know how appropriate and expected this is!
On Sunday, Dad and Moni joined us at church. It was very sweet to see Papa and Sienna partake in communion together for the first time. Sienna adores her Papa and spent a lot of time cuddled up with him during their visit. The rest of our day unfolded so naturally, as we ate brunch, stopped by Home Depot for more fire logs because it was cold and rainy, then retreated to the house to watch football. The ease of being with family and getting to visit in our home was very cozy.
Sienna had a Daisy Troop meeting that afternoon. When it was time to pick her up, Dad decided to join me. Seems silly, perhaps, but it was special to have my dad along on a routine part of our life. A trip to the grocery store followed. The everydayness of grocery shopping with Dad and Sienna was likewise a bonding experience.
We capped off our evening by inducting Papa into the world of Frozen. Sienna was shocked to learn that her Papa hadn’t seen the movie yet! We righted that. I really enjoyed getting to share the nuisances of our life with Dad.
This visit has left me reminiscing about my dad and our relationship.
One of our favorite shared memories was our trip to visit colleges during the winter of my Junior year. We visited the campuses of University of Portland, Gonzaga, Notre Dame, and the University of Steubenville in Ohio. Notre Dame was the highlight! We stayed in a hotel on campus that was converted from an old dormitory. It was absolutely freezing and we went to a hockey game, feeling like we were in a different world than Northern California. That was the first and (now that I think about it) only trip we ever took, just the two of us. It marked a change in our relationship as the dynamic between father and daughter started to shift as I prepared to leave the house.
My parents separated during the summer after I graduated from college. I came home for about six weeks before making the move to the San Diego area. Ironically, that sad time for our family actually left me feeling very secure. My siblings were both living in their college towns, so I was the only one home. My mom and dad each wanted to spend time with me, and though I felt for their sadness, I knew that they both loved me and everything was going to be alright. Living at the house with my dad for about a month, I learned to cook. Man, was I proud of those spaghetti dinners, with Ragu sauce! I have vivid memories of eating dinner in front of the first season of American Idol with my dad. We absolutely cracked up at the ridiculous auditions by terrible singers! I’ve always been grateful that I was home for that time.
For our wedding, I danced with my dad to the song “Today”. It’s a folk song by John Denver that my dad always sang to me when I was young. Hunting it down for our wedding was a challenge, but it made the moment… ours.
My dad and Moni came down to San Diego for the birth of both Sienna and Mateo. That meant the world to me.
Two years ago, Papa and Moni came down for my birthday. It was the first time they saw our house! They got the kids a cool playhouse that Dad and Dennis assembled together. It was sweet to see my dad playing with the kids and really meeting them at their level.
Looking back, and looking forward, I feel very blessed by the relationship my dad and I share. We don’t talk particularly often or see each other as frequently as we’d like, but in many ways we’re closer now than ever.