Today is Father’s Day – a day we celebrate our dads and those who’ve acted as dads in some capacity. We miss the dads who are no longer with us, we mourn the loss of dads through troubled relationships, we post pictures, and we all proclaim we have the “Best Dad in the World.”
I am fortunate enough to have two dads. I have my #1 Dad, who I see on a regular basis because he lives 4 miles from me, and I have my #2 Dad, my step-dad, who I don’t see nearly as often (400+ miles), although he’s been a father-figure since I was 7 years old.
How lucky am I to have two men who have taken the time over the years to help me, teach me, and raise me? I know they love me, and they love my kids, and would do anything for me. It doesn’t matter that one came before or after the other. If I didn’t have my step dad, he wouldn’t have me. I am sure he is ok with being #2. I have two dads to celebrate. Happy Father’s Day, Dad and Dennis!
Now it’s time to move on to the next big celebration of the day.
This is “potentially the biggest day of my life so far”, or so Ian told me this morning, as he struggled to eat breakfast because of his nerves.
Today could possibly be the day that Ohioans have been waiting on for over 50 years.
Tonight the Cleveland Cavaliers will face the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
Tonight the Cavs could bring home a championship.
This is probably not news to many of you. Not if you live in my state anyway, especially if you live with a sports nut like Ian. I am a mom that knows and cares far more about the NBA than I ever thought I would.
If you’ve grown up in Ohio, you know of the Cleveland Curse, and if you’re on Facebook, you’ve read these comments more than once after a Cleveland loss:
- “Cleveland never comes through for us.”
- “I’m never watching Cleveland sports again.”
- “It stinks to be a Cleveland fan.”
- “Another disappointment.”
- “Why do I even bother watching?”
- “I’m done.”
I hear it from my son….who loves to win and supports his Cleveland teams, but always feels that same letdown.
Until a few nights ago…when every thing changed in Game 5, and winning became a very real possibility. But now, it’s strangely hard to be this close and know that we could still lose.
With some luck, Ian’s dad was able to get two tickets to the Watch Party in Cleveland tonight, and they are already up there with thousands of others waiting to get into the Q.
Ian told me, “It’s going to be insane in the Q if we win, but it’s going to be even worse if we lose.”
“Yes, disappointing,”I tell him. “But you are going to the NBA FINALS WATCH PARTY…the closest you can get without hopping on a plane. You COULD see history being made tonight.”
I am sure statistically the odds are in one team’s favor, but haven’t we beaten the odds already?
Isn’t there still a chance?
Isn’t there room for a miraCLE?
Trying to remain optimistic, but preparing him for the worst, I reminded Ian of a quote he had shared with me from Tuesdays with Morrie not too long ago. Tuesdays was a required reading for his 7th grade Enrichment Language Arts class this year, and while it seems somewhat mature in content, Ian said it was one of his favorite books ever, and he cited this specific line in one of his essays. He wasn’t exactly happy to have me throw this quote back at him.
Ian seems to think that Cleveland fans will hate the Cavs if they can’t win this tonight. That “the rest of the season won’t even matter.”
“How can you say that?” I argue with him. “How can anyone hate the Cavs for doing almost the absolute best they could do? There can only be one winner. What’s wrong with being number two?”
For the last two years we’ve seen improvement in the Cavs. They’ve gone one step further than last year. Who says they can’t take it another step further this year?
And even if they fail, I think the fans in Cleveland, and my son, should be pretty darn proud of the effort, the excitement, and the hope that has transpired in our area.
Please, if we lose, don’t be the person who quits, who says, “I’m done.” Don’t hate on the Cavs. Be proud of them. While being #1 is going to be amazing, what’s wrong with being #2?
We all have memories of our childhood. Good memories and bad memories. Although hopefully more good than bad.
Sometimes the way we remember things is very different from what really happened. Over the years our memories become muddled, distorted, enlarged, minimized, twisted, or enhanced.
But the memories are ours to keep and ours to remember….however we may.
They connect our past and our present.
They make the events of today more meaningful in some ways that cannot always be explained or understood.
The past two weeks we’ve watched our Little Garden That Could grow and grow. After a run in with a pesky chipmunk, I decided to expand the garden and add some new plants that my friend gave me.
Each day I go out to the garden. I look at it. I smile.
Sometimes I pull some itty bitty weeds.
Sometimes I go around the perimeter and identify each plant and note its progress.
I study the leaves.
I look for new developments.
I push the dirt around and fill in the holes that stinking chipmunk has left behind.
I take pictures and send them to the kids when they are not home.
Every time I go in my bedroom, I can’t help but look out the window at the backyard and admire the progress.
I am not sure why I get such joy out of the garden.
Perhaps it is because of the memories I have of not one, but two dads, a grandpa and gardens.
Every time I am in the garden I am reminded of my stepdad’s giant garden when I was little. It was out back, behind the shed and by the sandbox.
Preparing the kids for what lies ahead, I have told them at least a half a dozen times how it was my job to pick the vegetables. I used to go out before dinner and pick the vegetables he “ordered”….a bowl full of cherry tomatoes, two green peppers, the biggest tomato I could find…
I don’t remember him specifically working in the garden. I am not sure when that work was done. But I do remember him cooking out, slicing tomatoes, and making the best BBQ burgers on the grill.
not liking hating stuffed peppers. Not even wanting to eat the insides because that green pepper flavor tainted the rice mixture.
I remember the sprinkler in the garden. It threw a spray of water on the swing set and if you timed it just right it was like swinging in the rain.
And then there was my dad. He didn’t have a garden. Although he often tells the funny story of my stepmom wanting a giant garden, planting it, and then letting the weeds take over for the entire summer. Until one day, she walks into the garden and hollers, “There’s vegetables in here” as if she forgot she ever planted them.
But my dad’s dad….he had a huge garden. My dad took us there every Tuesday to visit and in the early days of my childhood, when my grandma and grandpa were younger, I remember walking around the perimeter of the garden.
Grandpa would have us identify each plant and note its progress.
I remember the nets he placed over the strawberry plants to keep away the pesky birds.
I remember the green hedges that bordered the garden on three sides…where little bunnies would dart out and startle us.
I remember the giant cherry tree that he covered with a gigantic net and how my dad would hold us up so we could pick the cherries. We’d reach high up in the net and pluck the cherries that were not stolen by the birds.
Sometimes we’d pick some vegetables and put them in wooden baskets and take them to grandma who was waiting on the front porch.
And then she would tell us it was time for Wheel of Fortune or ask us if we wanted to play Uno at the kitchen table.
These are my memories..the ones that flood me when I am working in the garden.
The ones that bring me joy.
They connect my past and present.
And as we watch this garden grow this summer, so will the memories.
Sunday is Father’s Day and I will be on a giant family vacation at the beach. I know there will be a million tributes to amazing dads out there, but I feel like my dad deserves an honorable mention here.
As a little girl I always wanted to be a teacher. Always. In the summer, I would play school with my little sister and our babysitter’s daughter. When they didn’t want to play, I played with my dolls. (How attentive and well-behaved they were!)
My dad didn’t influence me to become a teacher, but he did influence me to become a special education teacher. He is not a teacher, in so many words, but he introduced me to working with those with disabilities and he showed me that everyone can learn.
Professionally, my dad works in the field of social work. He has used his social work skills in jobs at the Bureau of Vocational Resources and Goodwill Industries.
He’s also done a variety of other things as he is somewhat of an inventor and adventurer….he’s owned a racquetball court, worked with a team of guys developing an all-terrain vehicle, worked with the Earthwinds team on a hot air balloon that would travel around the world, built several homes (including a dome home he currently lives in), sold portable hot tubs (Softubs), and created several of his own inventions (one is a machine that sucks up styrofoam packing peanuts).
When I was in high school, my dad was running a window blind company. I worked in the office and on the floor cutting and sewing vertical blinds. He employed only a few people besides me and his good friend, who is also my godfather. The others he hired all required job coaching and vocational rehabilitation. I do not know all of their specific disabilities as my dad’s goal was to simply help them gain and then keep employment so they could be independent. I do know one man was hearing impaired. Yes, a deaf man working in a blind factory….Sounds like the start of a joke, right?
In all seriousness though, every time I was interviewed after college, my answer to “How did you decide to go into special education?” always came back to working for my dad.
For the last 20 years, I have witnessed both the philosophy and actions of a caring and wonderful man and have tried to apply it to my job as a teacher and mother.
My dad shows compassion towards others. Towards everyone….even ex-family members. I wish I could be more like him in this regard. When I am around him it is hard to speak ill of anyone. I have never seen him get upset with anyone, unless they hurt his children and even then, he doesn’t react in a angry way. I think, if anything, he is more disappointed in human behavior and the choices people make than he is angry.
My dad believes in providing opportunities for everyone. This is obvious in the work that he does daily at Goodwill. He works long hours and goes above and beyond what he is expected to do, because he wants to do it. I asked him recently if he had any plans to retire and he told me that it is not in the near future; as long as he loves his job he sees no reason to leave. He also volunteers his own time to ensure this equal access to those in our community. He has obtained many grants for our local theater to make it handicap accessible so that everyone can enjoy the productions.
My dad supports everyone’s dreams. He never says “You can’t.” or ‘You shouldn’t.” He says, “Give it a try.” He comes to every one of my son’s coach pitch games and sits with me. We joke about not knowing the score and sometimes we secretly wish for the game to end, but he is always there cheering him on.
My dad is proud of my accomplishments and never for a minute doubts that I can’t do what I set out to do. He’s seen me go through some tough times, but he always believed I would come out on top. And I have.
My dad is not afraid to make mistakes and is able to laugh at himself. In fact, that is what makes him who he is. If you know my dad, you need no explanation.
My dad has a quirky, but wonderful, sense of humor and loves to make people laugh. Prime example, the bench he designed for my son’s room:
Yes, those are my dad’s shoes. Size 22. Ok…technically they are his, but not the ones he wears. I am guessing he is about a size 9? He found these at a store and bought several pairs, envisioning all the great things he could make with them.
I keep a pair of these size 22 Nikes in my classroom…as a conversation piece. The kids love them and the boys have all tried them on at one time or another. They love it the most when I try on my dad’s shoes and “gracefully” walk around the room. As you can imagine, I have big shoes to fill.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad!
I love you!