|With my dad at my wedding|
Papa Nick is always happy to see us, especially the kids. And they feel the same about him- all 3 kids go running toward him when they see him, and they love to hug and be with him. He is so patient with them.
Here are some special memories I have of my dad:
A few times, when I was little, I would go to work with my dad when he was working late at night. I remember sleeping under his desk in his office while he worked. I also remember him giving me pink bubble gum with a liquid center while I was there. I loved it then, but now... YUCK.
He is a terrible cook, or really no cook at all, but he invented a special kind of grilled cheese that he made in the microwave, propped up on two straws. It was kind of soggy, but I remember eating it and even asking for it more than once.
I think that my mom, who was home with us all week long, used to make my dad take us on the weekends. I remember trips to the hardware store, where I got to pick out reflective letters and numbers, and trips out to his various offices. I remember the big mainframe computer room at his office, and the smell of electricity in there. I thought that pretty much anything we did with him was fun, and I never remember feeling like we were a chore or a burden to him.
Once, when the microwave was still pretty new in our house, my mom microwaved an egg (whole, in the shell). It exploded, and my dad was cleaning out the microwave and said, "Haha, microwave! The yolk's on you!" My dad is famous for his puns.
When I was a kid and asked for tapes of my own music to listen to, he copied all of the Beatles albums off of vinyl and on to cassette. So while other kids my age were dying for the New Kids on the Block, I had pictures of John, Paul, George and Ringo over my bed- thanks to my dad.
When I was on bed rest with the boys, my dad always brought me fresh flowers so I would have something pretty to look at in the room.
My dad is the official driver in our family- he has a little bit of a lead foot, but he is a very safe driver. Our family rule is, if you drive, you pick the music, so we always end up listening to his choice. He has about a million and one "favorite" songs, so one was always coming on, and he would get excited, driving down the road and playing the drum on the steering wheel.
Car rides were always a good time for conversation. My dad and I have had many heart-to-hearts in the car, and I've always felt comfortable being open and honest with him. He has always treated me with respect; never babied me or over-protected me as I grew, and now treats me like I'm a responsible adult. His ability to see me as a separate person, with my own strengths and shortcomings, allowed me to develop. I never felt he had an agenda for me, and he has always expressed his pride in my achievements and helped me grow from my failures.
My dad provided a wonderful life for us, in beautiful homes, with big opportunities. He spoiled me, and still does (he still takes my car in for service for me!). Today my dad said, "I'm a very lucky man, to have this family." Part of it might be luck, but most of it is him- he has created and maintained a loving culture and atmosphere in our family. He's affectionate, caring, generous, and kind. He treated us that way, and we treat him the same in return. And now, as a parent, I treat my children the way he treated me. So when he sees them being great kids, that's because of him. He might feel lucky to have us in his life, but we are the lucky ones, to have him in ours.
Happy Birthday, Papa Nick!