In honor of Father's Day I was thinking about some of my favorite memories involving my Daddy.
He has been in financial services (banking/mortgages, specifically) for the majority of his career and has worn a mustache for most of my life. (There was one time that he shaved it in the last 35 years...my sister, Mom and I all encouraged him to grow it back ASAP.)
Daddy is a laid back, easy going guy with a sharp, dry sense of humor. He enjoys sports immensely (cycling, rugby, jogging, league bowling and softball). As a result he has always been fit and an enthusiastic backyard Daddy, shooting hoops with us and teaching us the finer points of badmitton and horse shoes.
I have always found in him a listening, non-judgmental ear. He and my Mom both were always hesitant to fight battles for my sister and me--encouraging us instead to advocate for ourselves and figure things out.
As I pondered my favorite memory of my Dad it was my sophmore year of high school when I was the subject of painful bullying and taunting by anonymous phone calls. I was going through a difficult season--leaving one clique and transitioning to another.
I can vividly remember the night when received phone call after phone call from an unnamed girl who introduced herself as an older sister of someone I knew. She told me that there was a petition circulating around my school regarding how much people disliked me--and that I would be suprised how many of my perceived friends had signed it.
Don't ask me why I kept picking up the phone. (This was pre-caller ID.) I just did. As she said mean, horrible things to me I cried and listened. When I had heard enough I would get a moment of strength to end the call--but it would ring again. I don't recall how long this went on, but it feels like it was at least an hour.
I was in my room with the door closed, so I am not sure if he could hear the crying or was alerted by the constant phone ringing, but Daddy knocked softly on my door. I explained what was happening and he said, "I have an idea."
The next time the phone rang I answered (and my Daddy quietly listened from another room for about 30 seconds without saying a word). At the end of the 30 seconds his voice came on the line, deep and strong.
"Ms. Young, this is the Police Department. Our trace is now complete, you can hang up."
Of course, it was all a ruse. I never learned who was making those horrible calls, but I also never heard from that girl again.
Daddy was my hero that evening--in a way that proved he could defend me while protecting my dignity and keeping a sense of humor. I felt empowered and safe.
My other favorite memory of Daddy is how he would cook breakfast every Saturday morning--bacon and eggs. From age 7-20 I did not like eggs, but he offered them anyway, just as cheerfully...just in case. It became a joke.
"Daddy, you know I don't like eggs!"
"But one day you might," he'd reply. "Just want you to know I'll have them when you do."
He knew what wise parents know: One day in all my growing and changing, I just might come back around--and I did.
Like my heavenly Father, he has remained constant, strong, dependable and loving all these years.
The greatest gift he has given me, however, is remaining committed to my Mom through 39 years of marriage. That stability has been a great source of security for me--and now for my children.
Happy Father's Day, Daddy. I love you.