Nothing says "quality time for dad and daughter" like coordinated track suits and a fringed-out golf cart
One of the best things a dad can do for a kid, especially a girl, is to ask for their opinion. That's one of the things for which I am most grateful when it comes to my dad, good ol' Pete. Once upon a time, my dad called me downstairs to his basement office and said, "hon, can you do something for me?" He proceeded to ask me if I would listen to his sales pitch (he worked for a national industrial supply company) and tell him what I thought about it. He eagerly set up a stool for me to sit on across the room, and he set his papers down on the table, and talked for a good bit of time before theatrically jutting out his hands and enthusiastically asking me, "So! What'd you think?!" I was somewhere around 13 years old when this happened. Despite having zero expertise or interest when it came to the content of his speech, I listened intently and I provided as much productive feedback a teenager could muster.
See, it's in those moments that a father teaches his daughter about her value, her worthiness, and her importance. The fact that my father felt it worth his time to ask for my thoughts, and to make himself open to them, has helped shape me into the confident, out-and-well-spoken person I am today. He still asks me my opinion about things, mostly when it comes to politics, but also about all manner of issues and topics. It inspires me to stay informed, but more importantly, it helps us stay connected.
I share this story with you because today is my dad's 66th birthday, and as each year passes I feel more and more grateful for him. For every frustrating moment we've ever shared, including those where I earnestly (and annoyingly) reminded him that I was a feminist (dammit!), I also now see that he cared enough about me to make sure that I grew up a smart, articulate, and confident woman. Even if I remove the daughter-reflecting-on-her-father perspective, and just see my father as a man...a dude living his life...he's a really wonderful person. He's sarcastic, hilarious, the life of every party, well-read, infinitely giving, deeply intellectual, loving, charmingly aloof, and kind. Good ol' Pete is one special guy, and I'm so glad he was born. Love you, Dad!