Love is a precarious thing. It runs hot and cold and it hits us most unexpectedly sometimes. Love, real love, is unconditional. Very few things are comparable to a father’s love. One of those rare comparisons includes a homemade meal made by the man himself.
But how was he made? What kind of ingredients were necessary for him to become the man I know today?
Over the years I’ve been able to collect ingredients from my father’s childhood. Fragments of the recipe that created my dad. I may not have all the steps or the ingredients, but at least I have the end result.
First, I gather the ingredients of his childhood. At least five kids and an unknown number of men. My grandfather married into four kids before having my dad. He loved being a dad and when mine was born, all that much more.
Next, we add divorce, a step-mom, and more men. Some of the latter were nice. Others . . . were not so nice.
Ingredient three is rebellion. When a young man disagrees with an older one there isn’t much standing in the way before the dam breaks. It happened a time or two. Voices raised, maybe fists, too. But that wasn’t where my father’s rebellion ended.
His heart rebelled, too. He and the Little Misses decided to run away together at the ripe age of fourteen - or was it thirteen? But at the last minute, Little Miss-Never-To-Be changed her mind and left my father’s heart torn asunder.
Now, we mix in the gentle replacement of my father. Grandpa took him in with his new wife and raised him through high school where he was a prankster.
Two of my favorite stories about my dad is when he set off fireworks on the front lawn of his school. And the other being when he mooned the entire school. For what occasion this honor was bestowed, I don’t know. But I find it hilarious.
The next step in making my father is lunchtime shenanigans and nerd games. It’s hard to believe that my dad ran in track and field (only long enough to get a letterman jacket) and then went home to play Dungeons & Dragons.
Okay, I knew he played D&D because he was the one who taught my brother. But to know that this game was an integral piece to the development of my parents' relationships . . . now that was something I wasn’t expecting.
As my step-grandma tells it, my parents met during lunchtime, the only time of the day when juniors and freshmen could co-mingle. Their relationship bloomed from that day. My mom made my dad smile and my step-grandma knew their relationship would be long-term because of it. But more, she knew it would last because my mom would spend several hours with my dad and his friends playing D&D even though it wasn’t her vibe.
It was a young love that experienced trials and errors and even contains the forbidden. The most salacious of which the infamous “we were on a break” which includes a “she who must never be named.” It may not seem like much, but there’s some odd comfort in knowing that my parents had a “Ross and Rachel” moment before Ross and Rachel were ever conceived.
Fast forward 33 years and my parents are still cruising through those marital waves with four grown kids behind them and three grandkids and counting (though none in the foreseeable future). They’ve partially retired to Florida and play modern-day video games (Xbox Lego mostly). We play our traditional rounds of Cribbage when we are all together.
We do all of this because, even though my father has been through everything he has, he continues to be a kid. He has grown up. He is loyal to his family and his friends and is loyal to those he works with. He is loving and kind and funny. He can be stern and fair when conditions require it. He has Cranston vibes and loves classic rock. He never stops running (literally) and enjoys making memes.
These are the things that make my dad incomparable to others. Charm, loyalty, intelligence, athletic, kind, and caring. These are the qualities that came from every moment of his past. These are a few of my favorite things about my dad.
And I couldn’t love him more.
About the Creator
From crafting second-world fantasies to scheming crime novels to novice poetry; magic, mystery, music. I've dreamed of it all.
Now all I want to do is write it.
My IG: https://www.instagram.com/iamtiffanieharvey/