My Two Dads

He napped on his side, curled in the shape of a boomerang, with his hands folded in prayer position tucked between his knees. I imitated that sleeping position when I was little, because I wanted to be just like him in every way, and now fall into it naturally when I fall into bed. From him I learned that patience pays off as we walked hand in hand after the fertile riverbank fields had been plowed, searching for arrowheads and artifacts. Together at restaurants while we waited to be served, we wrote messages on napkins (“Help, I’m trapped in a napkin factory”) and stuffed them back, deep in the dispenser. Or, we used the back of the kids menu to solve math problems. He taught me to drive four-wheelers and golf carts and wave runners and tractors. For my fourth grade school pictures, he even put my hair in rollers, and trimmed my bangs (with dog clippers) when Mom wasn’t there to help that morning. Haircuts and driving lessons, math practice and arrowhead hunts, these things and many others all point to father-daughter love. And, like a boomerang, parts of me can always be traced back to my Dad.

His inability to hold a decent phone conversation for more than a minute and the way he puts my glass in the dishwasher before I’ve had two sips to drink may drive me up the wall, but so many other things more than make up for these minor shortfalls. On some kind of stealth mission, he snuck in a back door and quietly entered my heart. I’d been guarding it. I slammed the door in his face countless times when he was courting my mom. He didn’t seem to mind. I ruined (inadvertently, I swear) his microwave with fingernail polish remover shortly after we moved into his house. He edged nearer with fast forgiveness. He took me to Broadway and bought me a stereo, and showtunes to play on it. He crept closer with generosity. And now that he holds a place there, it’s his forever.

My dad, and step-dad, aren’t the only men in my life any more, but they sure rank up there as two of my favorites.


The Wendels said...

What a special tribute!

Poppy John said...

Jenny Baby,


Love to the other 3 and Colby too!