Friday, May 26, 2006

On the Road Again

I suppose it's appropriate that my earliest memories of my father are from road trips. As a family we spent a lot of time in the van. Summer vacations almost always involved some kind of cross-country journey--all eleven of us crammed in with pillows and blankets, the luggage strapped on top. It should have been chaotic, but I felt completely secure. Dad was at the wheel. Things were under control. I'd fall asleep to the hum of the highway and wake up at our destination.

The days of family vacations in the big blue van have passed. Now Dad makes road trips of a different kind. Instead of traveling with us, he travels for us. He's crossed the continent on my behalf many times. (It’s no wonder that he knows every Flying J station in the country. (It’s true! Quiz him!)) When I graduated from college, Dad flew out to Provo to help me pack up and drive to Pennsylvania. He crossed the country for me again a few years later when I went to the temple for the first time. And again when I had Sam and needed experienced parents around to tell me what to do with him. Several months later, when I was suffering from post-partum depression he got in a car and brought my sweet sister, Teresa the Bookie*, to save me. On these occasions when I thank him for his trouble, he unfailingly replies "You're worth it."

And that's the thing that gets me--not just that I'm worth it--but to him we're all worth it. And he makes sure we know it. Take all the trouble and expense and road tripping he's gone to for my benefit and multiply that by nine. And then raise that to the power of 19 grandkids (plus 3 on the way). Factor in moves and babies and graduations and illnesses and weddings and holidays. He’s been there for all of us.

In that light, other early memories come into focus: A priesthood blessing after a scary fall, an educational session on the way to school, a dripping ice cream cone saved just in time. Glimpses of the best things in life—the things Dad goes great distances to share.

And so Dad, on your birthday, as you pack your car for yet another road trip, I want you to know how much I appreciate you going that distance. Again and again. I love you, Dad. Happy Birthday.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks!!! You are worth it ... and so is your mother too ... and your siblings ... and all the spouses ... and all the children ... usw!!!

Yesterday at 2:00 PM, my time, I got a phone call. It was from Caroline - and her 23 6th-grade students. They sang Happy Birthday to me! What fun! I also had a group call from Christie Sue - She and a group of friends sang to me. I received other calls and cards which came without choral accompanyment - they were fun too!

I even received an e-mail from my boss's boss wishing me happy birthday.

I love you all! You are all worth it!
Daddy-A

Peanut said...

Happy Birthday Dad! You are great! Thanks for everything. We're looking forward to your visit.

Mark said...

Amen Diana! Well said.

Dad - I talked to you on your birthday and meant to wish you well but I forgot. Happy Birthday!

B said...

Boss, you are awesome! What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful father. It was fun to hear the Uncle Daddies wishing each other Happy Birthday for the weekend.

It's also funny to me that you write about so many memories in the car/road tripping...I've been thinking along those lines recently...how very many wonderful memories are from those long trips crammed into one van or another.

Ree said...

Your dad sounds pretty cool, but my dad is the greatest, smartest and bestest dad of all! Plus also he is a good driver.

Ree said...

Oh yeah, is that my baby in the third picture?

Crazy Horse Lady said...

Diana, your post made me cry. :) What a wonderful tribute to your dad.

I often marvel at all the things my dad has done for me and my sister and where he gets the time (and there are only 2 of us)...

Does Daddy-A have extra hours in the day he gets to use?

The first time I met your dad I was looking into a microscope and Sonnet was showing him around Mayo -- he had this amazing presence that demanded respect, yet he had the kindest softest eyes that instantly made you feel comfortable and at home. Happy Birthday Daddy-A from MN!

Boss said...

I should have mentioned that Daddy-A's best qualities are mirrored in Daddy-O. You can pretty much switch one for the other! (And on those long roadtrips, sometimes we did!)

I hope you had a great birthday too, Daddy-O! I love you!

Ree--yes, that's your baby. Thanks for letting my Dad (who's just as great and smart as yours, thank you very much) hold her.

Crazy Horse Lady -- I think you described Daddy-A perfectly! I'm glad you had a chance to meet.

Sue said...

Oh no! I forgot to tell daddy A where his secret bday present was hidden.
Definitely an accurate assessment of our wonderful Dad.
Boss, thanks for using your amazing talents to help us all express our love and appreciation. I'm grateful you have skills (especially bow-hunting).

Boss said...

Bow hunting, Sue? I thought it was my prowess with nun chucks you admired most. Thanks though.

CAROLIONESS said...

We do have an amazing father! Boss, I am also very grateful for your talent to be able to write a post that paints a very very accurate picture of our dad!

Tarimisu said...

I was also touched as I read this post. I remember your dad's - and all your family's - kindness so me as I spent much of my 10th and 11th grade years at your house! I was impressed by the fact that you often went to your mom and dad with problems - you'd say, "I asked my dad about this," or, "I talked to my mom about that," and I know that as a parent, I want to also be that available to my kids and I hope they will feel as comfortable coming to me as you were to your parents. I learned a lot about what a healthy family looks like by spending time with yours, and I have thought of that often over the years. What a lovely tribute to your dad, and I hope he had a great birthday.

Tarimisu said...

Oh, and p.s. - Diana, do you know secret ninja moves from the government as well as bow-hunting and nun-chuck skills?

Boss said...

Amy-- Of course I do! Remember? We were in that secret government ninja class together!

Tarimisu said...

Oh yeah. duh. How could I forget that???

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