Happy Father’s Day, Robert A. Smith

As my regular readers know, my usual post day is Monday. But today is Father’s Day, and I couldn’t let the day pass without acknowledging my father, Robert Smith.

Robert Smith

For all the times when I was a little girl and you came home from work tired, but not too tired to carry me upstairs. I’d wait outside your room for you to change just for you to carry me back down again. I know that was the last thing in the world you felt like doing, but you always made time for me when you got home. You always made time for me, period. It made me feel special.

And then I’d sit with you while you ate dinner. Except when Eric Sevareid came on the television. (I don’t know why I liked him, but I’d run to the TV to watch him, and when he was over, I’d run back to you.) I always went back to you. And why wouldn’t I? You were my hero. You still are.

Then as I got older, you tried to teach me to swim and to ride a bike. (I know I wasn’t the easiest of students, but I remember your efforts. And I did finally learn!) I also remember easier days, playing cards or you pulling me on the sled in the snow. We always had such fun. I still enjoy spending time with you. I just wish we could do it more often.

How we made it through the teen years, I don’t know. I would go to you with questions or for permission because Mom was stricter and you were wrapped around my finger, or so I thought. But we did fight. And then I’d cry. I hated having my daddy mad at me. I still do. I’m just glad it doesn’t really happen anymore.

Even though some of those times were ugly, we got through them easily with just a quick joke. Even a bad joke, or a “Bob joke” as they’ve come to be called, would do it. Once, to get out of trouble, I called you “Bob” and I said I said your name backward. Goofy, but you laughed. You never could stay mad at me. I hope that never changes.

Remember when I was in college and you were helping me move out of my apartment? We had that tiny Plymouth Horizon and that other family had a huge van, but we packed my whole apartment in one car and that other family was full-up after just a few trips? We laughed about that half way home. Of course, we weren’t laughing when we moved the furniture and the couch flipped onto the Parkway. You really didn’t laugh when someone at work mentioned seeing the incident. It was a good thing they didn’t recognize us! You were always there, helping me. You made things seem easy that I know weren’t.

Dad, growing up with you as my father was the best thing that could have happened to me. You made work fun (remember spraying each other with the hose when we were washing cars?), you made play even more fun (nobody makes Clue as enjoyable as you do), and you were always there for me.

When I got married, I was so excited to walk down the aisle and start my new life with my husband. I smiled and laughed that whole morning. Everyone, even you, commented at how relaxed I was. And why wouldn’t I be? I was marrying the man of my dreams. But before I took that first step, I felt your arm tighten around mine. I remembered I had said I was worried about wobbling in my heels and you had said you wouldn’t let me fall. When I felt your arm, I knew you had me. And I knew it was the last time I’d be relying solely on you. I looked at you… and then cried the whole way down the aisle. But you didn’t really give me away. You just expanded our family and took my husband in. It’s much nicer looking at it that way.

They say girls marry men like their dads. That’s probably true to some extent. I had the best grandfather anyone could ever want. And when my mom chose a husband, she chose a man as wonderful as her father. I have the best dad ever, and when I got married, I chose a man as special as my father. I hope my daughter continues the tradition. Although, I’m not sure they still make men like this.

So thanks Dad, for all you’ve done and for all you do. I love you.

Happy Father’s Day to my father, and to all fathers today. Dads come in all shapes and sizes, and with all kinds of titles (dad, uncle, godfather, stepfather, grandfather, brother, friend), but any supportive male presence in our lives deserves this recognition.

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