. . . my dad was born.
I love my Dad. A lot. I am among those blessed people who have a dad that is present.
Believe me, I don’t take that for granted.
There are so many things I could say about my Dad. I could talk about his wonderful sense of humor or his ability to make virtually anybody feel comfortable. I could tell you about his quiet strength or the humility with which he carries himself. Or, I could tell you about the way that being his daughter always gave me a feeling of being safe, irregardless of what was happening in my life. I could tell you about the countless times we pounded the pavement on a run together or the way that he still makes me feel that there is nothing I can not do.
I could talk about those things, but instead I feel compelled to talk about Wednesday nights. . .
Growing up in our home, Wednesday nights were special. It’s funny. . . I can’t really remember when they started, but I also don’t remember when they weren’t.
What were Wednesday nights?. . . I’m so glad you asked. . .
As my brother, sister, and I got older and life became more hectic with sports, life, etc., my Dad implemented Wednesday night dinners. Each Wednesday night my family would load up in the car, pick a restaurant, and have a meal out together. I still remember when the tradition started. It was the first time I heard the word “mandatory”. My dad explained that the meals were NOT mandatory. If we had too much homework. . . we could stay home. Late practice. . . not a problem. If we felt like staying home. . . we had that freedom.
I, however, rarely missed a Wednesday night dinner.
Wednesday nights were about slowing down. They were about connecting. In the middle of the week we sat around a table, lit by a flickering candle-light, and for hours we talked. We would catch up, we would share about our weeks, we would share stories, and we would laugh. . . oh, how we laughed.
Waitresses got to know us and they knew our orders before we placed them. It was not uncommon for us to be the last people sitting in the restaurant before closing. It wasn’t just about filling our bellies, though, it was about filling our souls. Leaving the the distractions of dishes, clean-up, homework, and phone calls (there were no cell phones then), we opened up our lives to each other. I believe those evenings spent together as a family are why we are who we are. It was as if my parents were saying, without saying, you are important and we want to hear what you have to say. Man, what a gift they gave us. I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I was loved and accepted. Those evenings went far to give me roots.
Wednesday nights are my fondest childhood memory. Even though I didn’t know it then, I now understand how hard my Dad worked to make those evenings possible.
My dad is a man of few words, so I will cut to the chase. . .
Happy Birthday, Dad.
I love You.
Thank you for Wednesdays.