Today is Father's Day, and I am so grateful for my father.
My Dad really likes to hold babies. He is the big, tough guy but could spend hours snuggled with a baby on his chest. My sisters joke about how my children smelled like men's cologne as babies because whenever he was visiting he snuggled them so much his smell wore off on them.
He has taught me that you could do anything, as long as you found the right book and followed it's instructions closely. He read books to me all the time. When there wasn't a book around he would make up a story for me. Often his stories were better than reading a book.
When it was time for me to learn to drive, the first thing I had to do was to read the car manual. When we bought our first home computer, I had to read that manual before I could use it. he most frustrating was when we started a new game for our Nintendo, he would want to read all the instructions before he started to play. I just wanted to dive in headfirst. Usually he did much better in the game because he had read the instructions.
The most important book he taught me to read was the Bible. It has shaped his life as well as mine.
My Dad found time to do things with me that not only showed me love, but showed me how to love someone well. From making my Mom's birthday cake, to making a homemade Mother's Day book together, he could find ways to do something nice for my Mom and let me be part of it.
My Dad love to fish and camp and be outdoors. He taught me to love fishing and being outdoors too. The smell of Deep Woods Off, warm drinks in the crisp morning mountain air. the rhythm of casting and reeling your lure in, and the joy of a fish biting; I loved getting to go camping. Camping trips were a time when I got to hear stories, be outside all day, see how nature worked, and get nice and dirty.
When it has been too long time since we had gone fishing, we would go in the backyard with my pole and a sinker on the end of the line and my dad would let me practice casting. I learned that practice is important. It can be fun in the moment but even when it isn't it is important.
I think I got my love of traveling from my dad too. My parents took me all over Europe even though I was in early elementary school. I'm grateful that they took a risk and traveled with me. We saw things that would expect kids to enjoy like zoos, stuffed animal factories, and candy stores, but they took a risk and took me to visit all kinds of things that might be more adult. We saw countless art museums, castles, churches, theater shows and tours.
When I graduated from college my father came up with an amazing adventure for the two of us. There were museums in Europe that I had always wanted to go see, and he decided to take me. We traveled to St. Petersburg to visit the Hermitage, to Moscow to visit the Kremlin and Pushkin Museum, and to Florence to visit the Uffizi Gallery. Together we saw some of the most amazing art, we had great adventures, and did quite a bit of shopping. I can't tell you how much that time together has meant to me.
When they handed out Dads, I got one of the very best.