Much like my Father’s Day card, this post has arrived later than anticipated. The craziness of Pride 2012 in combination with my ability to drink like a 21 year old but recover like a 40 year old led to two of my least productive days to date this month, but I had to let you know how fucking awesome my dad was on so many fronts when we were growing up. Yea, he was a bit of a dick sometimes, but I can imagine raising two beautiful, intelligent, emotionally confident women would take a toll on any father, and he did pretty good. Below includes what I gleaned from his child rearing, and to future and current dads out there, I recommend heeding these tips as commandments, especially if you are lucky enough to have such awesome kids like my dad.
1. Give your kid mad skills on the golf course.
From business meetings to first dates, a good set of clubs and the skills to manage the links is an irreplaceable life tool. How my dad taught my sister and I? Simple. Go out in 90 degree weather with your 9 and 12 year old with one golf cart. If they hit a good shot, they get a ride in the cart. If not, they have to walk to their next shot. After about three weeks of sunburn and mild dehydration, your kids will be chipping, driving, and putting so well, they will be getting free lemonade from the beverage cart guys. No joke. This is how I learned to golf and I dare anyone who reads this to challenge me to nine holes and a club sandwich. I will own both.
2. Defend your daughter’s honor…within reason.
My father is not a violent man, and it takes a lot to rustle his Selleck mustache and get him into a battle of wits or fists. That being said, he can make his kid feel awesome after she was jilted by a wayward beau. When my boyfriend of about two weeks in high school (which is like lesbian years so we were pretty much married) cheated on me with a skank with a set of double D’s, I was devastated. Looking back, I was probably just jealous, but I digress. My father, who knew the strapping young asshole that broke my chubby, acne-covered heart, did what any father should do. He just gave me a hug as I bawled and whispered, “Want me to beat him with a crowbar? I can hide a body… no one will know.” What a gem. Obviously, he would never do such a thing, but I smiled as he handed me his hankie thinking about what a sweet dad I had.
3. Let your kids know it’s okay to play hooky every once and a while.
When I was in 1st grade, and my sister was in 4th, Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” came out in the theater. My mom was out of town, so that meant one thing: instead of an alarm clock, we would be woken up by bagpipes. No joke, Dad would get out his bagpipes and play them in our rooms until we ran out screaming. But this morning, it didn’t happen. Instead, he let us sleep in, woke us up the normal way (by shaking us), told us we were skipping school, and took us to see “Beauty and the Beast” on opening day. To this day, I think that’s why I have a thing for brunettes.
4. Let your kids be themselves and support them no matter what.
From going to my comedy shows to sitting through three and a half hour existential dramas, my dad has always been supportive, but he was beyond supportive of my sexual preference. He walked in on my first girlfriend and me when I was in high school. And when I say walked in, I mean walked in. We both had our shirts off and I froze when I heard the side door open. I was laying on top of her on the couch and I couldn’t move. Petrified. As he walked down the hallway, I screamed, “Hi Dad we are in the back room but don’t come in!” He laughed, hollered he would be back in a few hours, and left. Did he probably go to day drink at a bar? Yes. But he wasn’t a dick and was always supportive of the girls I dated. He even tried to get me to come out when I was in college. We were in the car, just the two of us, over Christmas my freshman year, and he just turned to me and said, “You know, one of the cleaning ladies at work is a dyke, and I think it’s just great.” Precious.
He made mistakes, but what parent doesn’t? And as he always helped me embrace my inner nerd as a kid, he continues to do it with the text message I received after I wished him a Happy Father’s Day: “As Darth Vader said: Luke… I am your father. Thanks.”