It never takes me long to pinpoint exactly what I cherish about my loved ones. I'm a sap, a romantic, and a student forever memorizing and analyzing the traits I find so fascinating in my fellow human beings. When it came to my dad, I may have broken my own record. I knew in an instant what I love most, and what I absorbed fully in my years under his roof.
My dad taught me how to savor.
When I fall in love with a moment, reminisce about a youthful adventure, close my eyes at the taste of a raspberry, run my hands through my daughters' hair, or simply sit back and listen to a summer night, it's because of my dad.
Because Dad is a sap. He's a romantic. He's forever teaching us how to fall in love with things simple and grand and hilarious. I was raised on his stories of teenage shenanigans, and his quiet observations about my sisters or my mom. He was the one who made me ( the oldest sister) stop and see my sisters for what they were; not just little copy-cats or tattle-tellers, but sweet, innocent, gorgeous, and idolizing little girls who loved me. His love for my mom and his constant compliments on how smart she was, how lovely she looked, how hard she worked, and even how great she was at putting on makeup or acting efficiently under calamity taught me how to see her the same way. My dad made me the feminist that I am today.
Dad is the reason I made sure to climb those water towers in high school, run under a moonlit July night, and sing at the top of my lungs with my girlfriends in my '76 Plymouth Duster. His appreciation for silliness and nostalgia made me determined to live with my eyes and soul always looking for, and reveling in, my magical moments.
He would make me listen to his old records, his eyes searching for enlightenment in my face as I listened to Simon and Garfunkel or Neil Young. I suppose he was looking for a kindred spirit, and I hope he at least partially found one in me. I always knew my dad was one of the "cool" dads, as my buddies would jealously scope out his Dave Matthews, Phish, and Bare Naked Ladies CDs.
I would roll my eyes when he'd tell me to savor a bite of crab by the light of a kerosene lamp at our favorite ocean side campground. "Eat it slowly," he would say. "It's ambrosia." With the sound of the waves crashing against the shore and the soft sound of coloring crayons against paper from my sisters, and pages of a book being turned by my mother, I might roll my eyes, but I was still listening to him.
He was right. It was ambrosia.
All of it was - and I was savoring it.
Happy Fathers' Day, Dad!