Monday, June 30, 2008

Wrapping up "Here's to Dad!"

How wonderful was it to give a big Cheer for dads all over the world? I love that dads are openly plugging into their families and participating in dinners, bath times, and play dates.

I suspect that many dads have been great family men all along, but the mass media still seems to portray them going to work, watching TV, being into sports, and not really being in the mix of all the everyday stuff. I'm here to say that I know so many dads who are all that Ward Cleaver was and more! If your dad is one of those dads, call him today and tell him how much you appreciate all his love, guidance, and attention. I bet even if he wasn't the model dad, he is probably the grandpa of all time! Funny how that works, huh?

For July, we're paying tribute to the spirit of all Americans and their ability to do whatever it takes to get through tough times. Send me your tips and tricks for making your dollar stretch, keep your family united, and anything else you think will help us make the rest of this year great!

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Dad I Love the Best!

Yesterday was Dave's birthday. Happy birthday Dave; my hubby and Mason's dad - the dad I love the best!

I want to pay tribute to my honey who I am so proud to say, is a wonderful dad. There is so much I can tell you about what makes Dave a great dad like the way he parents in all the everyday stuff, and he doesn't see his time with just him and Mason as "babysitting." The stuff that will pay big rewards in the years to come is the way Dave talks with and listens to Mason. He engages Mason in ways that only a dad can, and if you've spent any time with our boy, you know he adores Dave!

The list of ways I feel Dave is a great dad is long. So to keep this short and sweet, here's the number one thing that I see daily that warms my heart and affirms what I already know, I married the perfect man to be the father of our child. Dave is always looking to Mason's future and thinking about what he will remember as a child, and taking action. You can see it in the way he wants to take Mason with him when he makes a quick trip to the store; Mason is not a bother. He seeks out play dates, plans them, and follows them through with inviting the children to come to our house and play. We have several of Mason's friends coming to the house tonight for a sleepover; at Dave's suggestion.

With so many parents overwhelmed with work, money, and unhappy relationships, it's wonderful to be with a man who is happily plugged in to his family. What a lucky little boy Mason is to have a dad like Dave!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dads, Daughters,and Cars

Those of you who know me know my dad was not a hands-on kind of dad. He was really a crotchety old fart, but he did make an impression in his own special way.

One of the things I took from my dad was his love of tools. My dad built cars, worked on cars, and in his later years, tinkered around cars. He had his own set of Craftsman tools that he took a lot of pride in owning. If one of us kids got into his tools for anything, if it wasn't cleaned and put back where we took it from, there was hell to pay! Dave will attest that this aspect is one I live by even today.

Even though I can't share with you a sweet story of how my dad and I rebuilt a near dead, classic Chevrolet Camaro that turned out to be my 16th birthday present (Oh, how I wish I could tell you that story!), I can tell you that there wasn't anything my dad couldn't do with a car. I watched him in our garage over haul engines, replace starters, rotate tires, and sometimes just change the oil.

One of my fondest memories was hanging out in the garage in the dead of winter, rain pouring outside, a little space heater under his table, and classic country music crackling over the AM radio. He would sort-of sing while he worked on cars and if he didn't know the words, he would whistle. I can remember the hot and cold spots in the garage, the way the radio station didn't come in all the way, and most of all, the smell of the car itself; the dirty grease, the clean motor oil, and gasoline. Even the goopy hand cleaner you used with just a rag and no water.

It's no wonder I grew up and made some of my best friends men. Mike in particular filled in the answers that my dad couldn't give me. Mike has guided me through oil changes, replacing brake pads, changing out a starter, and even replacing a radiator (that one he did long distance over the phone!). I have my own set of Craftsman tools now and like my dad, if you use them, clean them and put them away! My dad may not have shown me how to do these things, but he certainly taught me that I could!

Monday, June 23, 2008

What Would Your Dad Tell You?

More and more these days I find myself sounding like my dad, or dads in general. Dave and I talk about gas prices, how much cars cost, and how politicians seem to just be saying what we want to hear.

How many times did you sit in the back seat of the car having to listen to talk radio, or hear your dad tell your mom that a gallon of gas costing more than a dollar was criminal? It's no surprise to any of us that these issues don't mean anything to you unless you're old enough to realize you don't know everything, and there's more to life than what your wearing or how your hair looks.

I'm finding that I'm realizing how dire things are right now. We are seeing back to back natural disasters, California is on fire, the mid west is under water, gas prices are off the charts, people are losing their jobs and homes, and through it all, I have to wonder, what does it all mean? Is there a message we're not getting? Is this some universal test to see who has what it takes to not only survive, but to survive with love and kindness versus war and hatred?

I don't know, but I'm certainly paying a lot more attention to the big picture and adjusting how we as a family live and operate. I'm looking for ways I can help and make a difference. What do you make of all of this? Does it just all look so bad because we've had it so good for so many years? What would your dad tell you?

Friday, June 20, 2008

And Even More From Dad.

What part of NO don't you understand?
I don't care what other people are doing!
I'm not everybody elses father!
You're not leaving my house dressed like that!
If you're gonna be dumb, you've gotta be tough.
Didn't your teacher learn you anything?!
You can marry a rich guy/gal just as easily as you can a poor one.
It's hard to be good, and easy to be bad.
Don't use that tone with me!
Am I talking to a brick wall?
If I catch you doing that one more time, I'll...
Act your age.
Two wrongs do not make a right.
Wipe your feet!
What did I just get finished telling you?

What did your dad tell you so many times you now tell your kids?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

More Gems From Dad

Turn off those lights.
Do you think I am made of money?
You call that noise "music?"
We're not lost. I'm just not sure where we are.
No, we're not there yet.
Shake it off. It's only pain.
When I was your age, I treated MY father with respect.
As long as you live under my roof, you'll live by my rules.
I'll tell you why. Because I said so. That's why.
Do what I say, not what I do.
What's so funny? Wipe that smile off your face.
I'm not sleeping, I was watching that channel.
I'm not just talking to hear my own voice!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Dad Said...

Don't ask me, ask your mother.
Were you raised in a barn? Close the door.
You didn't beat me. I let you win.
Big boys don't cry.
Dont worry, it's only blood.
Don't you know any normal boys?
Now you listen to ME, Buster!
I'll play catch after I read the paper.
I told you, keep your eye on the ball.
Who said life was supposed to be fair? The fair's in October.
Always say please and thank you. That way, you get more.
If you forget, you'll be grounded till the end of the world.
This will hurt me a lot more than it hurts you.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Lessons Learned

In all of my years of growing up, my dad was my dad but also my best friend. He was a very strict disciplinarian, and I always knew that when he made a rule, or gave me an order, there was no point in arguing; it would just make matters worse and I would have to suffer the consequences. But on the other hand, he has a great sense of humor, and I was never afraid to talk to him about anything.

One day, when I was about seven, I was playing on the front porch with our servant's children. We had a set of rattan furniture and we were playing house with my dolls. We turned the chairs over and decided to make one of them a fireplace, but we had no matches. I knew I couldn't ask dad for matches so I ran over to our neighbor's house and told him that my dad would like to borrow a book of matches. So he obliged and I said "Thank You."

Mom and Dad were entertaining guests in the living room. There was a slight breeze and the sheer curtains were blowing out the open window. I had the celluloid dolls sitting around the makeshift fireplace when I lit the paper and to my horror the dolls, the furniture, and the curtains were ablaze. Dad rushed out of the house, and with the help of the servants and the guests, put out the fire. He sternly told me to go to my room.

After the guests left, he asked me where I got the matches. I told him the truth. He said, "I'm sure you've learned your lesson, but you have broken a very serious rule. I have told you to never, never play with matches so I have no choice but to spank you. I want you to know this will hurt me more than it hurts you." After the spanking, he took me with him to our neighbors house and told him if he ever wanted to borrow anything, he would ask himself.

Dear old dad, I learned so much from him. And for the record, I'm quite sure that spanking hurt me much more than it hurt him!

Wanda Patrick, Roy, UT

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Two Great Dads!

While I lost my father when I was 15 years old, I have very found memories of him. I was his "baby girl" and his love showed it. I loved sitting on his lap in the lazy boy, finishing his sugary, creamy coffee after he left for work, and just plain hanging around him. He was a man's man, loved to fish, hunt, BBQ, ride dirt bikes, and build things. I remember him making venison jerky on the BBQ, building very special color coordinated shelves for my bedroom, and giving me butterfly kisses. I wanted to hang around him so much, even when he was talking around the coffee table with his guy friends. He had a special phrase spoken in German that meant "get out of the room". This was not said in a mean way, simply emphatic and unforgettable.

Several years after he died, my mother was fortunate enough to find another wonderful man who I considered a step father, even though I was already well into my 20s. The qualities of this new "father" were very different from my dad, however, they were perfect qualities for my mother's needs and mine. Always protective, loving and supportive of me. He was a source of profound advice. He walked me down the isle, and fulfilled every wish that I wanted for my mother. After 15 years of having this wonderful "father," we lost him, too.

While the losses are sad, I have only great memories of both of them and I'm so grateful for their influence in my life. There's no way I would have found or appreciated the man I married without having been loved by these two fathers.

Lisa Anderson, Alameda, CA

Monday, June 9, 2008

Stinking, Running, Laughing!

To Ray Patrick, 1918-2006
With love from your daughter, Teri Cartwright

Through my childhood I felt sad that my brothers and I never had a close relationship with our father. He wasn't abusive to us; he could never bring himself to spank us because it brought back memories of the abuse his father inflicted on him. Sometimes I felt like he was indifferent to us. His mother was no prize, she made him feel like a wimp if he showed any kind of affection toward us. It wasn't until years later when he became very sick that my husband and I moved into their house to help mom take care of him, that we finally bonded.

One day a very funny incident happened. Every morning after Dad had his coffee, he always opened the front door and stand on the stoop. Mom and dad had a big front yard. He would stand there, looking up and down the street. It was early spring, the sun was shining and the weather was nice and warm. While standing there, he noticed something near the large trees in the front yard. Dad called, "Teri come here I want to show you something."
I came down the hall to the living room, "What?" I asked.
"Come out here." He went on, "What is that laying under that tree over there?"
I looked. "I don't know, maybe a cat?" I replied.
"I'm going to go over there to check it out." He went on as he walked, "It's a dead skunk."
"A dead skunk? Are you sure that it's dead dad?" I asked.
"Hell yeah! No skunk would be lying that still with someone walking up to it." As he's saying this and walking briskly toward the dead skunk, we both saw the skunk's tail lifted up! "Goddamn it!" he yelled. "Son of a ..." he continued on and on as he made a rapid retreat to the house.

I never saw dad run so fast, especially as sick as he was. We laughed about that skunk for days. Living with him, as an adult, has shown me a side of my dad that I never knew.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Great Advice From A Great Dad

"When I was about 15, my dad pulled me over to sit on his lap and suddenly got serious (kinda different for him, he was always laughing and joking around)...he said to me, Lisa, you can do anything in life that you decide and put your mind to! If anyone ever tries to tell you different, you can tell them that I said they can go to Hell!! You know...I completely believed him, and I can still hear his voice saying it as if it were yesterday, for the last 25 years!" Lisa Sulik-Leis, Sacramento, CA

I've known Lisa for many years, and I'm here to attest to this story. No, I wasn't there when her father gave her this magical advice, but I've seen her live it! This is a woman who lived one of her dreams of marrying her husband atop a snowy mountain, and then skiing down after saying "I do."
Just the work of one more great dad!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Daddy's Girl

"So I never thought of myself as a daddy's girl...'til one day, I woke up and realized that, that wasn't a title of being a spoiled little girl, but having that special bond with your dad.

It's a bond that drives my mother crazy because she doesn't get how easy it is for us to get each makes it so I can always go to him and have the cool, calm rationality of dad, or the excited lets do something crazy mentality with him also. Yes, all parents have to be an adult and parent first, but when they are your friend it's the best feeling in the world.

I love my dad so much, sometimes he can do no wrong. Even in my dreams he's the hero. Once in a dream, he gave me a puppy and for whatever reason I was down, it made it all even in my dreams he takes care of me. Dads are so incredible! GO ALL DADS!!! " Katie Petrick, Auburn, CA

So it must be true, dads have come a long way! I've had more response to June's topic from just one call out than I did to May's topic for the entire month! Katie said it, "GO ALL DADS!"

Do you have a story? Share it with us!

Monday, June 2, 2008

June's Here!

Since we paid tribute to mom for the whole month of May, let's give equal time to dad during the month of June.

I couldn't find any hard facts with regard to how the role of "dad" has changed over the years, but from my own experience, dads today are nothing like my dad was 35 years ago. Some of the easy observations are:
  • My dad never changed a diaper. Dave changed many.
  • My dad didn't cook or do dishes. Dave does both.
  • My dad never did laundry. I won't let Dave do laundry.
  • My dad didn't help my mom with much of any parental responsibilities. Dave and I truly parent as a team.
  • My mom didn't attend to any of the vehicle maintenance. I tend to all of our vehicles. I can even do brakes, change oil, and a myriad of other things!

My point is that we've all come a long way in our evolution as people. Men and women seem to create partnerships, and the lines that delineate our "traditional roles" have surely blurred. Men have really stepped up to be there for their kids and ultimately bettering themselves.

The big winner in this evolution is our kids. There is so much to be gained by our little ones from the different ways men and women parent. It's even more beautiful when men and women marry people they really like and stay together setting an example of what happily married really is.

Do you have a great story about your dad? Share it with us, and let's all pay tibute to "Dear Old Dad!"