My dad (aka Poopdeck) turned seventy today. Seventy, y'all!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, POOPDECK!
Man. I don't even know where to start. (Obviously since I'm just getting this up at damn near midnight.) But technically it is still his birthday so relax already, people.
Look. Let me just say this quickly before I end up a blubbering, ugly-crying mess of snot bubbles and violin string spit in my mouth. . . .
I absolutely LOVE this man.
I recognize how deeply fortunate I am to have been raised by him. I am fully aware and appreciative of the fact that it was him and not some ill-equipped or selfish person in his place. I know that this has shaped me--perhaps more than anything else.
Of course,there are people who slug it out and make it without good fathers or father figures. But I also know that having one is like someone giving you a giant boost over the big fence of adult life.
Well. At first I started to put together of top ten in honor of my Poopdeck. Like the top ten super awesomely awesome things about my dad. But then I realized that ten just wouldn't cut it. And so. Instead I bring you something even better:
THE TOP SEVENTY (YES, SEVENTY) REASONS WHY MY DAD IS TOTALLY, TOTALLY, TOTALLY AWESOME AND WHY IF HE WEREN'T MY DAD I WOULD TOTALLY, TOTALLY, TOTALLY WISH HE WERE.
Like to hear it? Here it go.
#70 Nobody tells better stories than my dad. Except for his dad before him.
#69 He goes to the gym every morning and then walks five miles.
#68 He proudly wears a fannypack and doesn't care what you or anyone else thinks about it.
#67 He taught me how to drive on a stick shift Volkswagen van. Knowing how to drive a stick makes me always feel like a badass analog girl in a digital world.
#66 He doesn't mind talking to me on the phone while I drive to work.
#65 He drove with me from Los Angeles to Tuskegee, Alabama and settled me in my first dorm room.
#64 He drove with me from Los Angeles to Nashville, Tennessee to settle me into my first apartment when I started medical school.
#63 He drove with me from Nashville, Tennessee to Cleveland, Ohio to settle me into my new apartment when I started residency.
#62 He flew in to Cleveland, Ohio from Los Angeles, California to help settle me after moving from my old apartment on the west side to my new apartment with a roommate on the east side.
#61 Yep. He helped settle me again when I moved from Cleveland, Ohio to Atlanta, Georgia. (Although that time he met me in the ATL.)
#60 He always looked at me like he was happy to see me when I was a child.
#59 He still looks at me like he's happy to see me now. And his whole face lights up when he sees his grandchildren. No matter what.
#58 He made all four of us feel like his favorite. And does the same for his grandchildren.
#57 He curses better than anyone I know and drops an f-bomb like no other.
#56 He loved my mom in front of us as kids.
#55 He gave me a blueprint for the kind of man I wanted to marry.
#54 He helped me to love myself enough to receive the love of a man like Harry.
#53 He loves my husband and my sister-in-law, Fran.
#52 He believes in my dreams and those of my siblings.
#51 He has a beautiful smile and smiles often.
#50 He has an infectious laugh and laughs constantly.
#49 He has always stood up for the underdog and used his powers for good when he was in corporate America.
#48 He helped me to be proud of my heritage.
#47 He played Donny Hathaway's "Young, Gifted and Black" for me when I was in middle school and told me to listen to the words carefully. That day changed my life and my self image.
#46 He was a good son to his parents.
#45 He is a good brother to his siblings.
#44 He was a consistent disciplinarian and taught me right from wrong.
#43 He always role modeled a life filled with regular exercise and has worked out for as long as I can remember. Even before it was sexy.
#42 He told me I was beautiful in seventh grade. Which was a total lie. Ha.
#41 He reads my blog.
#40 He is my mom's best friend even though they are amicably separated as a couple.
#39 He taught me how to stay levelheaded in a crisis.
#38 He loves, loves, loves his grandchildren.
#37 He sees about the elders in the community.
#36 He isn't lazy.
#35 He gladly hosts Camp Papa for five weeks every single summer.
#34 He potty trained BOTH of my kids.
#33 He would potty train YOUR kids, too, if you don't mind an old school approach.
#32 He loves peanut butter like me.
#31 He mows his own lawn.
#30 He was on the School Board when I was growing up and did the right things.
#29 He takes my kids to cool places like LegoLand and SeaWorld in San Diego.
#28 He taught BOTH of my kids how to read. Yup. First the potty, then literature for the potty.
#27 He takes care of my mom even though they are no longer together as a couple.
#26 He grew up in the height of the civil rights movement in Birmingham, Alabama and tells me all about his experiences. I feel privileged to hear about it from someone in the first person. And especially so since that person is my dad.
#25 He paid for our wedding.
#24 He understands social media better than me. (Not very hard to do.)
#23 He's not too tough to cry. And cries often.
#22 He helps anyone he can. Personally and financially.
#21 He is passionate about the things he does. Like really, really passionate.
#20 He used to make us listen to Martin Luther King, Jr. sermons in high school as punishments and required us to write essays on what we learned. I was mad then but am ever grateful now.
#19 He used to do Jane Fonda aerobics and was the only man in the class. Awesome.
#18 He tutors neighborhood kids every single day and wants to see them do well.
#17 He looks out for my sister JoLai and she looks out for him.
#16 He laughs at my jokes. Like really, really hard.
#15 He bought a minivan in preparation for Camp Papa and still drives it. Oh, and he named it "Snowflake" which the kids refer to it as like it's a person or a pet.
#14 He has always been there for the important things. Always.
#13 He keeps his word.
#12 He writes me sweet things filled with typos. I love his messages and love his typos, too.
#11 He made me partial to the Omegas since he's an Omega man. And it's cool that he's The BHE's fraternity brother.
#10 He's not a liar and doesn't try to one-up anyone. Ever.
#9 He knows who he is and recognizes the importance of using his gifts.
#8 Because of that, his children are the same way. And someday his grandkids will be, too.
#7 He comes up with awesome nicknames for people like "Plinko" his nickname for Deanna.
#6 He gives me his hand-me-down Apple devices. Woo hoo!
#5 He's an amazing leader and is my guru for all things leadership (next to the BHE.)
#4 He does the driving on long drives. (Yay.)
#3 He knows how to fix shit. And if he isn't sure, he'll study the manual until he can.
#2 He puts his money where his mouth is. And his time and effort. (See #30)
#1 He loves me for me and accepts me the way I am.
Yeah, man. My dad pretty much is THAT DUDE.
Happy birthday, Poopdeck. You rock for an old dude.
Playing this for you this time, Dad. Listen to the lyrics and know what you gave me by asking me to do the same.