[Mom, you’re totally going to want a tissue, too, btw]
Today is my dad’s birthday. My dad is an awesome guy and I’m not just saying that because this is a blog and everybody can read it. My dad is pretty awesome. Let me lay it out for you.
My dad is smart. He has taught math & computer science to college students as well as adults, and is a crossword puzzle master. I used to think my dad knew everything. Until that one time when we had an argument about what city was the capital of Georgia and *I* was right. That was when I learned my dad is not always right…but I am. That might not have been the lesson he was going for. It took him a number of years to teach me that even though sometimes people are wrong, it’s not always necessary to point it out to them.*
My dad has been working with computers since computers were bigger than me. When I was young he used to let me come with him to the college sometimes. While he was working, I got to play on the computers in the lab. In those days computers had green screens and were almost entirely text-based.** He let me play games on the ancient computers which if you can believe it didn’t really even have pictures. But at the time they were pretty technologically advanced. I used to play Lemonade Stand, Oregon Trail, and that game with the open apples & closed apples where you had to get them in the right trap door. I’m sure you don’t know the game I’m talking about. Most people look at me like I’m crazy when I mention it but I swear it’s real. Anyway, it’s because of my dad that I am as comfortable with computers as I am now, which has helped me to get a number of jobs over the years, including my current one.
He takes computers apart and puts them back together. Nearly every computer in my house was assembled or modified by my dad. We always had a computer at home as long as I can remember, even before that was something everyone had. I used to be able to type my school papers at home when most other kids in my class had to use a computer at school.
My dad can play the guitar too. I remember when I was younger he used to get out his guitar and we would all sit around the living room singing along while he played. I can’t play the guitar myself so I don’t know the terminology but he plays with a finger picking style that I have always loved. He had a big book of Beatles songs, some John Denver, Simon & Garfunkel, Kenny Loggins, Kenny Rogers, and other classics. He has arthritis in his hands now so he doesn’t really play anymore, but to this day I can’t hear any of those songs without thinking about my dad.
Babies love my dad. You can put Dad in a room full of people and one baby, and I guarantee that baby will be staring at my dad within minutes and giggling. He doesn’t even have to try. He just has an aura or something.
My dad has always been there for me. He helped me move to Minneapolis, even though I don’t think he really wanted me to move there (but he’s lucky I did because otherwise I never would have met Ian, and Dad wouldn’t have these two amazing grandkids). Then a few years later after I was married and had kids, he bribed us with season tickets to Bison sports games and free babysitting so we would finally move back to Fargo. I never thought I would say it but I am glad we did.
Dad’s not one of those macho guys who thinks it’s unmanly to cry. If I get choked up watching a movie, it’s a good bet that Dad is about to start sniffling soon too. One of my favorite pictures from my wedding shows my family (including dad) all standing in a bunch, lifting their glasses to wipe the tears from their eyes. I bet he’s crying right now. It’s okay Dad, I’m totally crying too. I hope you followed my advice and had a tissue ready.
Dad has been chauffeur to my kids more times than I can count. He’s driven around the neighborhood with me looking for my kids when they aren’t where they’re supposed to be. He once got a black eye trying to catch my Saint Bernard when she let herself out of the yard for a walk.*** I could go on about the great things about my dad, but this is a blog not a novel and anyway I have to keep some secrets for myself right?
I used to think my dad knew people pretty much everywhere we went. Of course now I know that’s not true but he does know a lot of people. You might even know him yourself. If you do, then consider yourself lucky because he’s a pretty great guy. And I’m not just saying that because he’s my dad.
Happy birthday Dad! I love you!
* I’ll be honest, this is a lesson I have to re-learn on a regular basis. Dad likes to occasionally remind me by impersonating 12-year-old Kari saying incredulously “But they’re WRONG, DAD!” (That’s joke number 22, Dad. But sometimes I do need to be reminded so it’s ok.)
** Imagine a 30 pound graphing calculator with a 9-inch screen and a keyboard. Kind of like that. Here’s a picture I found online. This was advanced technology, people. Just trust me on this one.
*** Selby says she’s sorry and that she really didn’t mean to drag you to the ground, she was just really excited and doesn’t know her own strength. Also she promises to try not to do it again next time she lets herself out of the yard. Which she hopes will be really soon.