Blue cheese, the Yankees and road trips

About 30 years ago my dad bawled like a baby when he held me for the first time. Has he told me this? No, but I know it must be certain.

My mom had to undergo a C-section with me because I would have been breech. I was a month early, and apparently I decided to make my appearance in the world during a dinner party. It sounds like it was a pretty scary experience for her and the rest of the family, but I was to be just fine.

And as my dad held me, even before my mom, who carried me for 8 months but was still under anesthesia after surgery, as he held me surrounded by my aunt and my grandparents, I am certain he cried.

My dad turned 60 today, which means he is exactly twice my age. He was 29 when I was born, which blows my mind to think I am older than that now than he was then.

He’s the one that showed me how to ride a bike and how to drive a car. It’s because of him I like blue cheese and the Yankees. He gave me everything I ever needed to have the perfect childhood, and he even let me paint my room purple in high school. He taught me to work hard but put family first.

When I was 15, I met a guy named Mike on a vacation in Florida. The next summer, when I asked Dad if he would drive me and Amy to visit him and to attend another friend’s wedding, he didn’t hesitate: Of course, he said. He didn’t even mind dropping us off for hours to hang out alone with Mike and the rest of the soccer team, and he didn’t complain about the days he took off work and the gas money and the hotel room expenses and the food costs … He had to know the feelings I had for Mike weren’t to be monumental, but he did it anyway. And that is what made it monumental.

One thing he didn't teach me was how to sing. But he is an excellent singer - and for mine and Jeff's rehearsal dinner in 2004, he wrote and performed a song with my cousin's husband, Edward. Not a dry eye in the house ...
One thing he didn't teach me was how to sing. But he is an excellent singer - and for mine and Jeff's rehearsal dinner in 2004, he wrote and performed a song with my cousin's husband, Edward. Not a dry eye in the house ...

He is working today, in fact, spending a milestone birthday alone in a hotel room in Austin. But he is surrounded by all of us who consider him one of the biggest positive influences in our lives: In fact, when I called him to wish him happy birthday, he didn’t answer because he had my brother on the other line, and he said my sister called while he was talking to my brother, too. Funny we all called at the same time.

And my mom, who has loved him even longer than we have, took him to dinner last weekend at a restaurant in Frisco, TX. If that restaurant hadn’t been halfway across the country, I would have been there in a heartbeat. Happy birthday, Dad! Can’t wait to celebrate when you’re home for Christmas.

I know I can’t be the only one who has such a fantastic dad. How has your dad influenced your life?