This note is a love letter to my dad. My brother John recently effused his wonderful qualities in a Father’s Day post to his multitude of followers. I found myself nodding through his post, smiling about my own special relationship with him.
My dad is the youngest of six children and has raised six of his own with my mother. They celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary on June 28. A sharp legal mind, he practiced law, specializing in commercial litigation for 30 years – while coaching many of us throughout our grade school basketball careers. One of his great techniques was directing us to practice dribbling the ball with a bandanna tied under our eyes to train our gaze on the basket, our teammates and opponents. I made it through high school varsity so something must have stuck.
For years, during football season, my dad, older brother, grandpa and I would venture downtown to watch our St. Louis [football] Cardinals in action. A spirit of hope in our hearts as we meandered into our seats often followed by the pang of dejection on the ride home. The other Cardinals—our beloved baseball team—electrified our spirits. One of the greatest highlights for me was skipping class to attend the epic game when Ozzie Smith squeezed a solo homerun in the bottom of the 9th.
It’s funny how our memories often usher us to our youth. I could write volumes about the special experiences I have shared with my dad throughout my childhood and young adulthood through today. There is a common thread throughout these experiences. That is the constancy of my father, a man of strong faith, inherent goodness, intelligence, humor, selflessness and love, radiating joy. Through blissful times on family vacations, celebratory dinners and fun-filled outings, through the mundane of the everyday and through setbacks and trials, he is there, with a smile.
Many of you may be aware of my family’s story. The fire that savagely burned my brother, the journey of his triumphant recovery and life. My dad’s diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease at age 48. He has pressed on for 30 years with this debilitating disease, always showing up, with a smile.
I have been blessed by a deeply personal, special bond with a man who celebrates my uniqueness and unconditionally loves and supports me. I feel like I am his favorite. What’s especially remarkable is that my five siblings all feel the same.
What a legacy, Dad.
I love you,