Saturday, November 30, 2013

Gratitude for Dad

Life is Good: my dad knows how to use a wrench!

Month of Gratitude, Day 29

Well, the big kid has a loose tooth. It was bound to happen. As much as I am trying to get him to stop growing up, he just keeps doing it. I told him he should stop eating such nutritious foods. He told me that I am the one who serves them and that it is his job to keep growing. It's hard to argue with that.

But in all seriousness, it is an exciting time in life. Oh, okay, when is it NOT an exciting time for us? We are blessed. Every day, we have a ritual where I try to pull out his tooth. It is getting there, but it may take a while because just when I start to make some progress and hear that "crunch" (you know, the tooth pulling away from the gums), the big kid tells me to stop and we should just "let the tooth come out on its own".

We have the tooth pillow ready. I bought these two adorable ones from a shop on Etsy last year. (I wanted to make sure I was ready when it happened!)

And so now, we wait...

This daily ritual of (kind of) teeth pulling has reminded me of my own tooth loss memories. I remember the excitement and the amazement at the magic of the Tooth Fairy. What an innocent, precious time childhood is. I never could understand how the tooth fairy got into my bed, grabbed my tooth in an envelope out from under my pillow, and left a dollar for me without my waking up! She is very quiet, that Tooth Fairy!

All of this tooth business has also reminded me of my dad. You see, when I was about eight, I lost one of my front teeth early in the day. I remember it was a Sunday and so we were home all day. No school to distract me. All I could think about was that tooth and the Tooth Fairy. I kept going into the bathroom and smiling, admiring my new look. Then I got the idea to compare what my smile looked like with and without my tooth.


I sneaked into my parents' bedroom and got my newly lost tooth. The tooth that my mom had expressly told me to leave alone until it was time to put it under my pillow that night. The tooth that had been put into an envelope and sealed.

Well, now the tooth was unsealed and in my hand. I stood on my tip toes over the bathroom sink to look at my smile in front of the mirror. With the tooth and without. With the tooth and without. And then. Clunk.


That "clunk" was the sound of my tooth falling into the sink and right down the drain. And then another crying. No. Wailing.

I ran to my mom and through my whining and wailing and drama, told her what had happened. And also pointed out that the Tooth Fairy would not come if that tooth wasn't under my pillow! She was not pleased. but I recall her remaining calm.

The good news was that I hadn't run the water in the sink, so the tooth was most likely at the bottom of the U-shape of the pipe. So she told my dad what had happened. And then she asked him to crawl under the sink, open the drain pipe up, and get my tooth back. I recall him being a little less calm about it. (He is the lively balance to her quiet, for sure!) I think he questioned her sanity or an equivalent of that. I am pretty sure he asked her a few times if she was serious. And then he went and got a wrench and climbed under that sink and...voila! got my tooth back.

The tooth quickly went back to an envelope where it remained sealed.

This story isn't really about a lost tooth. It's not about a silly kid and smile comparisons. It's not about an understanding mother. This story is about a daddy. A daddy who hated to see his daughter cry. A daddy who would have done anything for his daughter.

Today, I am grateful for my dad. I am grateful that he will drop anything to fish a tooth out of a pipe or just chat on the phone. I have always been a daddy's girl. Growing up, I loved watching my dad "working the crowd" when we would go out to dinner. The term, "social butterfly" was invented for him. I would watch him bounce from table to table, leaving people smiling and laughing.

My dad is a storyteller. His delivery is so good, most people are left wondering if the story was true or not. He's always up for fun and adventure. To my dismay, this adventure often involves his motorcycle! Oh, yes. If it were someone else's dad, I would think it was great, too.

Often, if you ask my dad how he's doing, he'll say, "If I were any better, I'd be twins!" Oh, dad. The world is not ready for two of you! Or rather, when God made you, he broke the mold!

My dad has a big personality and is a lot of fun to be around, but there is so much more to him. He is generous with all that he has. He is a champion of the underdog and can't help but offer help when he sees that someone needs it. He loves the Lord and everyone knows it. And he has the most sentimental, tender heart. He's also the epitome of a public servant and community leader--he's served his community in myriad ways, on committees and boards and more, over the past 50+ years.

My dad was the first person to encourage me to be a writer. He noticed something in me that no one else had when I let him read a letter to the editor of our little, local newspaper that I had written. And there is nothing that I have wanted to do that he has ever doubted.

Today, I'm grateful to be born to a dad who loved family time, whether that was on a boat or in a pool. I'm grateful for a father who passed on a love of people and a love of laughter to me. I'm thankful for my dad's twinkling blue eyes and wide grin. I am grateful for a father who is interested in anything that interests me. A dad who has never met a stranger, makes friends with people of all walks of life, and walks around with his heart wide-open.

Today, every day, dad, I am so grateful for your presence in my life and proud to be your daughter. I know people who cannot say those things about their parent and I am so glad for our relationship and the love we share for one another. 

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