If my dad were alive today, he would be 61.
It’s hard to believe that this is the second birthday without him. The permanence of his suicide is just too much to take sometimes, but I refuse to let his absence and cause of death define my life. Instead, I choose to celebrate him and all the great memories that we shared together.
In honor of my dad’s 61st birthday, I wanted to share 61 memories of my dad. There are so many more great memories, but these are just a variety that came top of mind when I decided to write them down this morning.
61 Memories of My Dad
- Although my dad did NOT like chocolate, his birthday cake of choice was always a devil’s food chocolate cake with milk chocolate icing. Ever since I was old enough to bake, I always made him one from scratch to celebrate.
- When I was 7, I went on my first roller coaster with my Dad and Uncle Bob. We were at Cedar Point and rode the Raptor. It was so fun!
- My Dad loved banana Laffy Taffy. I would always save the yellow ones for him. Actually, he loved anything banana flavored.
- One year, my dad named his work forklift “The Awesome Possum.” I helped him create a banner for it, and he had it taped to the forklift. I thought that was so funny.
- Whenever I needed a button sewn on, my dad was the one to help. He always used fishing line to see because it was way stronger than thread.
- My dad was a champion speed skater. I always loved when he would skate during my skating parties in elementary school, because he was so good and fast, and made me look cool.
- My dad sold all of his speed skating trophies in one of my grandpa’s garage sales.
- Every night, I went with my dad to the local convenience store to play the lottery. He always let me pick out an instant and a treat. I usually chose a Doubling Dollar and candy cigarettes.
- When I had my tonsils removed, my mom asked him to get me jello from the store. He came back with EVERY SINGLE flavor. He wanted to make sure I had options. I liked the island pineapple the best.
- Every Friday driving to the lake, my mom, dad and I would have a jam session and would belt out our favorite tunes. I liked Cheap Trick and Meatloaf the best.
- Every Sunday driving home from the lake, my dad listened to the NASCAR race. Do you know how boring it is to listen to NASCAR on the radio? I do.
- When I was 9, my dad took me to see “The Rock.” Yes, it was an R rated movie. Yes, my mom was upset. Yes, I thought it was awesome.
- My dad loved hunting for Beanie Babies with me. We always had so much fun finding them.
- When I was little, my dad assembled a playhouse for me. Since I could never find anything with my on it, he made me a “Misti’s Clubhouse” sign and I thought it was the coolest thing ever.
- One time when I was 10, I faked being sick so I could stay home from school. My dad stopped at Blockbuster on the way home to rent movies. He also got me a stuffed animal dog from “There’s Something About Mary.” I still feel terrible about that.
- When my first boyfriend came over for the first time (I was a freshman in high school), my dad quickly ate dinner and then sat in the recliner and watched TV the entire time. I don’t think he ever talked to my boyfriend that night.
- My dad and I would always go to Blockbuster every single Friday night to get movies. I was never allowed to get popcorn or snacks.
- Occasionally my parents would get Chinese food and I thought that was disgusting. That was the only time I was allowed to eat a different meal. My dad and I would go to Kroger and I was allowed to get a “Kid’s Cuisine” meal before picking up their meal.
- My dad NEVER had pizza delivered. We always picked up Donatos and brought it back.
- My dad taught me how to drive and was always very calm. My mom, on the other hand, was not.
- My dad loved online shopping, even before it was popular. He bought one of my prom dresses online from New York and I thought I was so fancy.
- My dad was a great cook. He made the best wings and walleye.
- My dad could NOT make lemon bars. Every time he tried, he would burn them.
- My dad always let me fish for bluegills at the dock. I really enjoyed that.
- My dad and I always waited until Christmas Eve to buy my mom’s presents. We would go to Westland Mall and it was so fun.
- In order to be released from the hospital after my tonsillectomy, I had to eat my entire breakfast. I HATED eggs at the time, so my dad ate my eggs so I could go home.
- My dad always bought Blake the most random things and he always loved them.
- My dad loved watching movies. I loved sitting with him in our Buckeye Basement and watch with him.
- My parents loved hosting parties and it was fun planning with them. I loved our Ohio State vs. Michigan party the most.
- The first time my dad met Aaron, he told Aaron that “Misti will kick your ass fishing.” I was mortified.
- My dad was obsessed with The Weather Channel. I hated watching it with him.
- For a while, we would go to karaoke every Friday night. It was so fun. My dad never did the karaoke, though. He just liked to watch.
- My dad and I were not big dancers, but my mom is. So when dancing was involved, my dad and I sat back and watched my mom tear up the dance floor.
- Even though my dad did not enjoy my flute playing, he attended every single band concert – except the sprig he quit smoking. He skipped that one.
- I always loved when my dad would play video games with me. I would always beat him and he thought it was funny.
- The only game my dad would play with me was Crazy 8s. I didn’t really like that game but I played it a lot so I could spend time with him.
- When my dad retired from Sears, he got to pick out a retirement gift. I always wanted a globe growing up, and he picked that out as his gift and gave it to me. I love that globe and it’s displayed in our basement.
- My dad would always dress up as Jim Tressel for Halloween. Parents and kids would get so excited when he opened up the door to give out candy, and many took pictures with him.
- My dad and I loved making buckeye necklaces together.
- My dad made his own fishing lures called weapons. I have spent countless hours of my life making weapons with him.
- When my parents dropped me off at college, my dad cried. That was one of the only times I saw him cry.
- My sophomore year of college we finally got text messaging. I loved texting my parents goodnight. It was so exciting to be able to message them whenever I wanted.
- My dad bought me mace when I went to college. If that isn’t true love, I don’t know what is.
- When I was living at home, I NEVER pumped my own gas. My dad always did and I didn’t know how to pump gas until I was in college.
- When I was in high school, my dad gave my barbies away to a needy family at work. I was devastated when I found out, but now I realize how kind that was.
- My dad was super helpful with our wedding. The day before, he drove all over to get supplies. And he never complained about wearing a tuxedo. I was so impressed.
- My dad gave a speech at our wedding and it meant the world to me. I know he was nervous, but he really wanted to thank people for coming and making the day so special.
- In high school, I wanted to create band hoodies since many other schools had them. My parents fronted the money to pay for them and my dad helped make it happen. That meant a lot to me. My dreams were always important to them.
- My dad was so proud of my husband, Aaron. Whenever he would introduce Aaron to people he would say, “This is my daughters boyfriend/fiancé/husband, Aaron. He went to Harvard!” We always thought that was so funny.
- I am so glad we went on a trip to Jamaica a couple years ago. It was my parents first time out of the country and they loved it. I will cherish that vacation forever.
- When I was little, I always wanted my dad to fix my hair. He would blow dry it and style it in a way I thought was so cool.
- Growing up, I went to so many sport shows with my parents. I would help set up the fishing booth and try to sell charters. I also slept on the concrete floor of the booth to pass the time.
- When I was in middle school, my dad taught me how to cut his hair so he didn’t have to pay for haircuts. I never did a very good job.
- I always tried to buy my dad the best birthday and Christmas presents. And oftentimes he would never use them. That blue ray DVD player? Seldom used. Those Columbia fishing clothes? The lost them in his own closet. I was annoyed at the time but I thought it was really funny.
- My first cell phone was one of those big, clunky NEXTEL phones. My dad said that I needed a sturdy phone in case I dropped it off the football stands in college. And he also liked the fact that we could use the walkie talkie feature to talk to each other whenever we wanted.
- My parents took me to the Mary Chapin-Carpenter concert at the Palace Theatre when I was about 9. It was my first concert and I loved that BOTH my parents went. We had a great time.
- The last gift that my dad ever bought me was a bright pink, super long cell phone charging cable. He said I would always know which one was mine because it was pink, and that the long ones were better and more functional. If you ever want to use it and I get weird about it, that’s why. I am very protective of that gift.
- My dad was a great contractor and did many home renovation projects himself. I loved helping him. Demo day is my favorite.
- When I started working, I called my dad on my commute home every night. He was usually driving home at the same time and I loved catching up with him.
- My dad had me in his phone as AMisti so he could get to me easily. I also had my own ring tone in his phone.
- When I was about 5, my dad bought this car that didn’t have seatbelts in the back, just a bar you held onto. I thought it was so cool, but my mom did not. She made him return it the next day.
I hope enjoyed reading some of these memories of my dad. Happy birthday, dad – I will always love you.