I’m usually at a loss for words when it comes to my dad, which is odd considering that my one of my greatest talents – the ability to talk to anyone, trees even – comes from him. But when it comes to my dad, one of the strongest memories comes from when I was a teenager and my folks had taken my older brother and I on a great western road trip where we hit the states of South Dakota, Montana, Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota in two weeks. At some point during our drive through Wyoming, my dad realized that we could dip south and drive into Colorado. We wouldn’t see anything, per se, but then we’d be able to tell people that we had been to Colorado. My brother and my mom had fallen asleep at some point during this particular day’s driving and since we were only across the Colorado border and were really looking at nothing but a ditch, we decided to not wake them. So we got out of the car and we stretched our legs and that’s when I saw the wildflowers. Wordlessly we picked them, breathing in the scent, marveling that we had drove so far and could enjoy this moment.
I didn’t realize until much later that this singular memory meant as much to my dad as it did to me. I had graduated from high school and I was in my junior year of college when I spent a semester in Malta. Right before I was set to fly home, I received an email from my dad – the only one he had managed to write in the six months that I was away. (Don’t get me wrong – he wasn’t ignoring me, he just hates computers and technology.)
The gist of what he wrote was to remember to take a moment to capture my surroundings – to breathe in the sea, to remember the route I walked to the university, to remember the little things, as well as the big things that I had accomplished in six months of travel. Because its the little things, he wrote – like picking wildflowers in Colorado – that stood out the most in his mind and which made for some of his favorite memories.
So to my dad, who is as sentimental as he is practical, I wish you the best Father’s Day. And to the rest of you dads out there, never underestimate the impact that you can make on your kids. Have a great day!
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