My father was never like the other dads when I was growing up. While other parents took their kids to play dates, or movies, or the beach for entertainment, my dad took me to the airport to watch planes take off and land.
At the urging of my mom and aunts, he did tag along when we went to Disneyland with my cousins when I was 2 or 3. It was about 104 degrees, I lost my Mickey balloon, and everyone was miserable. That’s the first and only time he went to an amusement park.
Around that same time, he decided it would be a good idea to get me started off on the right path in life. No, I’m not talking about education, though that was also top priority. In a move that would probably be considered child abuse to many of the parents and sanctimommies of today, he thought that it was the perfect time to expose me to one of the best things life has to offer: coffee. I’m not kidding. He sat me in my chair, poured me a cup (he did think to water it down a bit), handed me a few Zwiebacks, and settled in to read from the morning paper.
Already in his 50s when I came in to the picture, he was pretty set in his ways. He was not as involved a parent as my mum or the fathers of my friends. He wouldn’t take me to McDonald’s (he’d buy the Happy Meal, give me the toy, and throw the rest away), forced me to endure years of Greek school, and generally pissed me off. Yet in spite of all the miscommunication and sometimes all out battles, I know he loves me.
Today is my father’s birthday. Despite the bad forms of entertainment, borderline child abuse, and lack of Happy Meals aside (kidding,) I am so lucky. Happy birthday, Dad. With Love.