Much of my writing focuses on my late mother and how close we were. But this week, while talking with my dad on the phone, I realized how thankful I am for him.
“You know, I was just thinking about you,” he said when I called.
“Really?” I asked. “Was it because of Thanksgiving?” We’ll be visiting my dad and stepmother for the holiday, and I was calling to find out what we could bring.
“No, it wasn’t that,” he replied. “It was rather a logical progression of associations that led me to think of you.”
He then explained that he was meeting a friend for lunch soon, and was wondering if he should take his car or his wife’s. That prompted him to consider the merits of different cars and whether it was time to trade in his current vehicle for a new one. Then he recalled how much he liked the car that I used to drive when I lived in Boston. Thus, his thoughts landed on me.
I had to smile at his long-winded explanation. My dad’s brain is always spinning, analyzing, calculating. It’s one important thing we have in common – this inability to be at rest.
In many ways, my dad and I are opposites. While I’m emotional and run anxious, he’s rational and rarely worries. I love to express myself in writing; he loves numbers. When he used to help me with Calculus homework in high school, I would get so frustrated with the problems that I would be on the verge of tears. Exasperated, my dad would throw up his hands and say, “Why can’t you just look at this equation logically?!” At times, it felt as though we were each speaking a different language.
Yet I always knew my dad cared about me, not because he acted warm, fuzzy, and affectionate, but because of the things he did – whether it was fixing my computer or taking me to Fry’s to shop for electronic gadgets and candy.
Over the years, I’ve gotten to know my dad better and started to appreciate and even treasure the idiosyncrasies that make him so remarkable. We still don’t always see eye to eye, but we’ve found ways to relate better. He’s taught me how to make perfectly moist Thanksgiving stuffing and quintuple chocolate brownies. He’s accepted my addiction to mochas, and now we have a coffee date at Starbucks (or as he calls it, Starblechs) whenever he visits.
My dad has inspired me to think critically about so many things, no matter how seemingly insignificant. I think my passion for the details has a lot to do with him. For example, during our conversation about Thanksgiving, he offered a detailed analysis of why French cut green beans would be superior to regular cut for the recipe I was making. His explanation had something to do with square inches and areas, and I’ll admit my eyes started to glaze over, but hey, I still got the gist of the point he was making.
This week, I’m thankful for my dad, everything he has taught me, and all that he continues to teach me.
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