I'm an only child, so I spend a lot of time with my mom and dad. With my mom, everything is a mixture of silly and serious. We love goofing off together, whether it's exchanging one-liners or giggling over fart jokes, and she's introduced me to pretty much all of my favorite TV shows. But she's also the one in the family who gives the best hugs, and I can count on her to make me feel better when I'm stressed about school or friends.
My dad, on the other hand, has never been much for the touchy-feely stuff. He prefers action movies to dramas; grimaces whenever what's on TV gets too steamy; and leaves a half-mile of space between us every time we hug. But I always look forward to his hand-drawn cards on my birthday and Valentine's Day, full of top-hat-wearing animals and tap-dancing hearts. He's the reason I know my way around a kitchen and show my affection through food. Some of my favorite memories of him involve making dinner together or him patiently tasting my early cooking disasters. Others include pushing a cart through Costco and bringing him back a portion from every sample table I saw, or sharing a newly-bought baguette on the way home from the grocery store.
My dad has always been incredibly generous with his time and possessions, one of the things I admire most about him as I've gotten older. He's in his office around the clock but has limited his business trips and chosen to work from home so that we still get to see each other. When I was little, he never minded if I visited him at his desk just to pick up stray quarters off the floor or ask for one of his fancy pens; he'd just smile and tell me I could have it. Any time I wanted his help with a project, he'd leave a stack of books from his collection outside my bedroom door.
My dad has inspired so many of my different passions, from reading and teaching to traveling the world. But more than anything, he's been deeply, unfailingly proud of me for all of my successes and confident that I'll go on to accomplish even more. In fact, the worst punishment I remember as a kid was hearing my dad say, "I'm disappointed in you," because it was so rare and because his opinion mattered (and still matters) to me so much.
Since I'm away from home this year, I won't be able to make him his favorite blueberry pancakes or hand him a homemade card, but I hope this message will go a little way towards making him feel special on Father's Day. When I was younger, he used to tell me that it was a big deal for me to call him Dad, because he only has one kid (me!) and one chance to be a dad. So here's to you, Dad, the one man I'm lucky enough to have as a father. I love you so much!