Yes, I realize that Father's Day has passed, but someone asked me what my favorite memory of my dad from when I was a child was. I thought about it for a while and couldn't come up with just one thing. I thought I would share a few of the reasons why my dad is so awesome.
When I was a child, we'd go to my grandmother's house on Sundays and on a few of those occasions, my dad would go to Ottawa 67's hockey games with my uncle. I would beg him to take me, and he would usually cave. (I am his oldest daughter after all). It was never about going to the hockey game because I have to admit that I HATED hockey at the time. It was all about spending time with my dad.
When I came to my senses a few years later and became a hockey fan, I absolutely LOVED the Montreal Canadiens. Hey, the Ottawa Senators weren't back in the NHL yet. My dad effectively brainwashed me ;)
On April 1st 1989, my dad and I drove to Montreal to go watch the Habs play the Philadelphia Flyers. What made that day even more special to me was that my dad made sure we left really early from Ottawa so that I would have a chance to see the players as they walked into the Forum. He just did that because he knew how happy it would make me.
I did see some of the players come in - I even walked right into Eric Desjardins. That was slightly embarrassing. I got Russ Courtnall's autograph and I cared about nothing else after that. It was one of my favorite times ever.
On another occasion, he took the day off work so that he could come with me to go watch a practice for the Ottawa Senators that I had been invited to. This practice was taking place at the Nepean Sportsplex during the week. When we left, I asked him if he knew where the Palladium (now ScotiaBank Place) would be built. He decided he would show me where it was. So we drove to Kanata where there was a truck in the middle of a field and nothing else around. I don't find the arena that far anymore, but it sure seemed far from the East End that day. He could have said no, but decided to make my day better.
As my friends are well aware, my all time favorite hockey player is Martin Gélinas. He is now retired as a player and works for the Nashville Predators. At the height of my...shall we call it...obsession, my dad always did whatever I asked him when it concerned "Marty". We would go to his games against the Sens at the Ottawa Civic Center and would stay after so that I could get stuff signed. My dad's aunt gave me the stuff Marty had left behind when he went to the NHL. He was staying with her when he played for the Hull Olympiques. He even went to a Hull Olympiques game once and bought raffle tickets because the winner would get a Gélinas jersey. He didn't win, but it's the thought that counts.
I'm sure my dad thought I was crazy on more than one occasion, but he never let on. He always showed me that what was the most important for me was also important for him...no matter how ridiculous it might have been.
I spent a lot of time with him in the car getting a ride to friends', work, hockey games, concerts, school, appointments etc. I don't remember him ever being annoyed at driving me and my sisters around although I am sure he must have been at times. He just did it without blinking, he actually still does.
If my dad thinks that doing something will make me or my sisters happy, he will be more than happy to oblige.
There are oh so many more stories, oddly enough, usually revolving around sports, but it would take too much space to write them all :)
He is a great dad and grandfather. I will always appreciate everything he has ever done for me and undoubtedly will keep doing. I don't think I will ever be able to repay it all.
Thank you Dad,
I love you.
FYI Mom: I know you also had a hand in all those events and many more. You had to stay behind to take care of my sisters and for that I am grateful too. You are a fantastic mom and I wouldn't change a thing about my childhood. You were around for everything and took care of us like no one else could.
I hit the jackpot in the parents lottery and I am more thankful than anyone could ever know.
I LOVE you both.