I am openly thankful and unashamed to proclaim that I won the lottery twice. I am the proud daughter of an amazing and very over the top father. Lottery win number one.
In my "husbandless" days, I wondered if I would truly find: A- the best mate to live up to my dad’s standard, and B- the best mate to be the best father to my hypothetical children. After all, my dad set the bar pretty high. Thankfully, my wandering and wondering led me to a man who is both the perfect husband for me and best father for my little girls-lottery win number two (QUITE post worthy…we’ll save that for another day...)!
When I was a little girl, I never wondered if my dad loved me. I never felt starved for attention. My dad kept a busy schedule, got up extremely early in the morning to get work done, taught overloads, and traveled to speaking engagements all over the world-literally. I was mostly oblivious to his insane work load. It never mattered how small a role I had in an “extracurricular,” my dad was there. For anything and everything I was involved in, he was front and center. Rarely were there any “schedule conflicts” because my dad would schedule right over any of his “conflicts” for me. There were even times I said, “Dad, its ok, this thing is really not important.” He would always say, “But it is important, you’re in it.”
I never once doubted that my dad valued me and anything that involved me. My dad always displayed genuine interest. My dad has listened to me ramble from one end to the other, anticipating my next word with genuine interest and response. In my younger years, I owned a long list of random extracurricular activities ranging from water polo, to student counsel, to cross country, to debate team, to choir and on. I never saw a sigh, rolled eyes, or boredom on the face of my father standing on the sideline. He enthusiastically cheered me on, no matter how beautifully I sang, or how horribly I ran. Excited, joyous, and supportive-that is how he felt about everything I did, no matter how insignificant or silly. Excited, joyous, and supported is how I felt.
Time, distance, and space have never mattered to my dad; whether I lived 2.5 hours away in Indiana, 1.5 hours away in Illinois, or 5.5 hours away in Southern Indiana. No distance has ever been too great for my dad to travel. On numerous occasions while living in Illinois, he would call to see if he could “swing by” for a bit. I never considered an hour and a half the “swinging” sort of distance, but to my dad, it was practically down the street.
One time, while living in Lafayette, the night before an important test, I found myself in a real bind. I needed to have a medical test done at 6:45 am and needed someone to watch Aislynn. My dad drove the 2.5 hours leaving home at about 2:30am to watch his granddaughter and support me. This is the example of the “over the top-ness,” for which he is well known.
The “over the top-ness” did not simply appear when cute granddaughters entered the picture. Over the top is his middle name, although he might argue it’s Robert. When I was in the 5th grade my dad read a mystery series with me, the “Mandy Books.” Every night, we read a chapter together. We made our way through quite a few books when my dad took a speaking trip to Japan for 2 plus weeks. This trip would halt our reading sessions for a while, I thought. Perfectly capable of reading to myself or displaying patience and waiting for him to return, my dad had other plans. He taped himself reading more than 14 days of chapters so that I could put in a tape each night and still have him reading with me. That is what extreme love and dedication look like.
I could go on and on about the times my dad has bent over backwards to be there for me or his granddaughters, or sacrificed time and money he didn’t have for me. I could recall his passion and deep love for me and my siblings in story after story. I could tell you about his endless love, joy, and concern for his grandchildren. In fact, I could right an entire post about my dad the amazingly over the top grandpa! But my dad would never call himself “over the top.”
My dad would never make a big deal about listening to me go on and on about my latest invention or creative idea. He would never pat himself on the back for making it to events, and games, and choir concerts when I was a child. He would never broadcast that on one particular day when all the ladies in my house were sick, he left his house in northern Illinois at 2:30 am to drive the 5 hours to Southern Indiana to “help me out” for the day, only to turn around and drive 5 hours back to his home that same night. No, my dad would never make a big deal out of any sacrifice of time, energy, money, or sleep ever made.
It’s truly not a big deal to him; it’s just being a dad. I could not have asked for a better dad in the last 364 days x 28 years.