What his rap sheet isn’t telling you about my Dad

My father thought it would’ve been cool to be a pilot when he was younger.

He cries every time he watches the movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

He once told me that he gets along with kids and old people but usually has trouble in the middle.

My dad sat in rehab and made little, beaded bracelets for my daughters. They’re frayed and worn out now. Nobody can really wear the fragile little loops any longer but I keep them anyway.

My dad is the kind of guy who gave out dollar bills to the kids in the neighborhood when I was growing up and always said “hello” when people passed him on the street. He’d yell out “Tally-Ho!” and I was always thinking “What does that even mean?”

He was a bona fide field trip chaperone this one time. We went to the state capital with my 4th Grade class and he bought me a replica penny the size of a sand dollar from the gift shop. I don’t even know why but thinking about that goofy thing makes me smile.

Sometimes we used to go roller skating when I was little. He was pretty good at it but he busted his ass one time really hard on the floor and I still remember my jaw dropping down to my toes when it happened. I felt so bad but I laughed and laughed and just couldn’t stop.

He used to take me to church when I was younger. I had this ridiculously long hair and my Dad had no idea what to do with it. He’d pull it into a ponytail and the nape of my neck every Sunday and call it a day. Once we got there, I usually just wanted to sit with him instead of going to the kiddie class. The young people seemed immature anyway and I just wanted to be with my dad.

He was even a summer camp counselor this one time. He helped organize all the outdoor games for the kids which, looking back, is funny as hell to me because he wasn’t a particularly athletic dude. He always seemed too cool for that, you know?

You’ll hear it said that adult children of alcoholics adopt “black or white thinking” – that they really struggle in the gray areas. Well, my dad has been a gray area for me my whole life and, believe me, I struggle with it. Today I don’t want to think about the loss and the hurt and the way my chest caves in like it’s been hit with a 65 foot long meteor when I really let myself think about him.

He and I both deserve a day of lighter memories.

And maybe it makes me feel a little better to share these happy moments with you too. So you know that beyond the labels “alcoholic, drug addict, schizophrenic, homeless guy, criminal”….there was – and maybe there is – a dad who thought it would’ve been cool to be a pilot.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

2 thoughts on “What his rap sheet isn’t telling you about my Dad

  1. PAULA NOEL says:

    I love how you love your dad, unconditional! That’s how God loves us, warts and all! He’s had such a rough life, but it doesn’t make him bad, it just makes him hurt! He loves you and your girls! He sure made a very special person in you! Maybe his best thing EVER! Love you!! ❤️🙏

    Like

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