Do you ever look back on your younger years and wonder, “Was I a good kid?”? Did my Dad think I was a good daughter?

I seem to do a lot of “looking back” since embracing my 40’s. I think I was a good daughter. OK, so my attitude as a teen left something to be desired. Especially after moving from Texas to Rhode Island. I mean, I was a good kid, almost too goody-goody before we moved.

But those daddy-daughter trips to the hardware store followed by a milkshake?Image

Or lunching at Chili’s after going to Target on Saturdays? (Oh, yes, they had Target in Texas way back when, and it was glorious.)

It wasn’t long before they turned into, “But, Dad, I can’t today.”

“But, Dad…I’m going to my friend’s house.”

“But, Dad, I can’t.”

“Dad, can I borrow the car?”

I was the only girl. The baby. My Dad and I always got along. We could walk outside, play catch and talk about…everything. Or nothing in particular. We’d run errands together and he let me bring a friend along while my mom cleaned and my brother was out doing whatever the cool kids did in the 80’s.

I’ve always adored my father, with his groomed beard and glasses. I’ve always admired his corny jokes, his math wizard-ness and everything he contributed to the Space Program. I remember skiing together in Colorado, flying down moguls, giggling. And crying into his chest after we lost dear friends on The Challenger. And after he lost his job.

But something happened after we moved away.

I turned into a 16-year-old.

I’d race through dinner so I could be with my boyfriend (my now husband! ;)). My friends.

I didn’t mean to say that.

Or have that party.

Or put off doing the leaves.

It just happened.

I turned into a teenager.

But this Father’s Day, as I look back (like the hormonal mid-life mother I am), I realize I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m so grateful that my Dad is still around. I have a lot of people in my life, my husband included, who have lost their fathers. That alone breaks my heart and makes me want every visit, every phone call, and every email with my dad to count from now on.

I recently visited my parents in Florida and it was one of the most memorable trips we’ve had together.

Did we go on a cruise?

No.

Did we go to Disney?

No.

Did we lay out at the beach?

No.

Did we tour his old stomping grounds at Kennedy Space Center?

Not this time. Although i would have loved that.

Actually, I just flew out there to support my parents while my mom had surgery.

We did a lot of…NOTHING. And my mom’s surgery went really well.

I have to say it was the most special time I’ve spent with my parents in a long time.

During that trip to a little town just outside of Cape Canaveral, Florida, to see my folks, I was happy to do nothing special.

Just visit.

Just chat.

Just shoot the “hey” on the patio with the two people who brought me into this world.

So, we giggled.

We cooked.

We hung out. We piled whipped cream on top of hot cocoa when the rain started pouring down.

We took pictures of birds hanging out in the backyard.

I jogged to the tennis court to watch my Dad play a few matches with his buddies.

The day my mom had her surgery, my Dad took me out to lunch at a diner right around the corner. It’s his favorite hole in the wall, with pleather booths and a big banner that hangs from the ceiling that shouts, “Best Pie in Florida”. Because it was Tuesday, we got a free slice of pie. It was honestly the best $12 meal I’ve had in my life. Because it was just me and my Dad again.

Did we do anything special?

No.

We sat there in that booth, sharing a slice of key lime pie, talking about everything…and nothing in particular.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

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