This day that serves to celebrate and honor the men that love and serve us so well, so faithfully without recognition. This day that now serves as a painful reminder of missing all the sweet ways my Dad faithfully yet imperfectly served and loved me so well.
Stories have often functioned as a healing balm for our gaping wounds over the past year as we have so missed our Dad, but so enjoy remembering how well he loved us and all that he continues to mean to us.
Our family has discussed this word often. My brother had friends and loved ones whose lives had been impacted by my Dad stand at his funeral, charging them that they were his legacy.
So here are a few stories to try to encapsulate the man we got to call Dad. The man we celebrate today. And the man whose legacy we are honored to bear.
M I C H A E L
One night when we were really little, Andrew and I fell asleep with our Mom for some reason. Daddy found us there and rather than disturbing us went and slept in our bunk beds. In the middle of the night there was a loud crash and Daddy came rushing into the room to check on everyone. The sound came from his wooden shelves in his closet breaking, but he, still out of breath from his panic, said “I thought the boys’ bunk beds had fallen!” “Honey, you were in the bunk beds.” My mom responded.
Emily Katherine had some stomach problems as a baby and had the hardest time sleeping. I remember countless nights of Daddy pacing the living room walking her back and forth so patiently, whispering so softly. There was not a light on in the room. He just kept walking back and forth bouncing her softly.
A N D R E W
Every summer when we were young, my dad would shave our heads. We spent summers shut out of our aunt’s house and released into the woods, so the buzz cut made it easier to check us for ticks. Our ever utilitarian parents also used the summer to save money on haircuts. We would commemorate the start of each summer in the driveway, on top of a overturned five gallon bucket-made-seat where our dad would shave our heads and ring in summer with us.
The summer after my freshman year of college, I went to the Philippines to work on a farm for several months. My dad came down and moved me out of my dorm and we spent the several days getting the necessary supplies together. The night before I left, he showed me a weather report that showed my first glimpse of the triple digit heat I had signed up for. I began to grow my hair in the second semester of my freshman year, intending to use my time abroad to allow my hair to grow. My dad used the weather report as a bargaining tool and convinced me to let him shave my head. We went to the garage, flipped a bucket upside down, and removed my sought after hair. When my hair was on the floor and about my shoulders, my dad kissed the top of my head, thanked me for letting him shave my head, and told me he loved me.
E M I L Y K A T H E R I N E
I once was working on a music video project for school. We were driving all over downtown filming in different spots. We stopped in front of city hall and my car key wouldn’t come out of the ignition. The longer I sat there trying to get it out the more my car kept overheating. Not having the slightest understanding in the world of cars, I called my Dad crying, terrified it was going to catch on fire at any moment. “I’ll be right here.” He said on the other side of the phone. In about five minutes, he pulled up next to me and walked up to the car. I got out to let him assess the situation. His tone with me got really gentle, but I could tell he was fighting not to laugh. “Baby, I’m not trying to make you feel… Baby, you key won’t come out because your car is in reverse.”
When I was four years old, I was a bumble bee in my dance recital. I was on stage at dress rehearsal dancing my heart out. When the song ended, I stood there proudly expecting a grand applause from our teacher of how well we did. Instead, all of the lights came on in the audience as our teachers whispered. Mine walked right over to me with the microphone and said, “Where is her mother?!” My mom had a work meeting that night, and I watched my Dad, still in his suit and tie from work, stand up to claim me. They called him onto the stage to show him how a few of my velcro dots that held my tutu up were off and he listened so intently to make sure we could get it right for the recital.