My father was exactly the age that I am now when I was born.
Isn’t it funny how we never think of our parents as “our age?” Though I know intellectually that my father was a child, a teenager, and a 28 year old, he’s frozen somewhere between 30 and 40 in my mind, never younger, never older. It’s fascinating for me to imagine my parents at a barbecue, cold beer in hand, watching their friends coo over tiny me, one of the first in a string of newborns that would transform them all from young lovers into parents. In other words, it’s hard to imagine my parents as, well, me. My peers. Exactly where I am now.
And yet, if you took my 28 year old father out of these photographs and planted him in 2011 Portland, OR, he’d blend in seamlessly. We might have to get him some TOMS, but otherwise, you’d never be able to tell he was from another generation entirely. The gap feels wide, but I suspect it’s rather narrow. I suspect, if we were all the same age, if I’d met my parents at a barbecue, we’d have been friends. I like that.
As I look at these pictures, I can’t help but think of my friends who are becoming parents. I can’t help but hope that they’ll be blessed with the same sort of supernatural guidance that seems to have touched my father. I’m confident that the man in these photos wasn’t sure what sort of father he was going to be just yet. I’m sure he didn’t know that his mysterious first child, loved and overwhelming all at once, would be able to look back nearly 29 years later and write that she never once felt anything but supported, treasured, and cherished by her father. I’m sure he hoped I would, but I’m sure he was worried and full of questions. I’m sure he was just a little terrified.
Here we are, though, and through a combination of big love, his intelligence and strength, a lot of laughter, and the grace of a good God, I have always, always, been so proud of my father. I’ve always felt that he was proud of me. I’m not sure what else I could have asked for. I’m a blessed, blessed girl.
Happy Father’s Day, Daddy. Thank you for being my father first, but also for always being my friend. And for dressing in clothes that make my friends jealous. Favorite, for example, would kill for those sneakers. I can’t wait for you to get to be Grandpa to your grandkids. Maybe in a year or two. 🙂
I love you so much.