Father and daughter

Father and daughter

This is my father. Today is his birthday.

People often remark on the resemblance I share with my mother, but the people who really know my family laugh about just how much of a father’s girl I am. Not a Daddy’s Girl, thank you. I am merely very much much father’s daughter: stubborn, determined to get the last word on anything, occasionally short-tempered, but quick with the apology for the people who matter.

Looking through the photos I have with of my father, I chuckled over the fact that nearly every one is related to sports in some manner. This one? This year’s Red Sox Rally Monday. Some of my other favorites? 2004 victory parade. Various Patriots games. Sox games galore. A random Bruins game.

My brother and I are lucky, when it comes to our parents. We grew up with two parents in the house, a couple that has been married for thirty years and continues to follow the lives of their now-adult children. My maternal grandfather passed away when my mother was a small child; my father lost his mother when he was in high school. As such, both of my parents made a commitment to be as involved in their kids’ lives as they possibly could; my brother and I reaped the benefits of always having a parent at our games, concerts and milestone events.

My father did a lot for me growing up: he was the one who drove me 12 hours, one way, so that I could see the New Kids perform my very first concert. He took me to my first Red Sox games and every one thereafter until I was out of college. He made sure to check in with me each day, even when he was working nights and didn’t get an opportunity to hear the anecdotes that my mother heard each afternoon after school. He first asked my mother to consider moving from Massachusetts to Vermont so that the kids could grow up in an environment he thought was most conducive to letting us grow and develop to our full potential.

But my favorite father-daughter memory from growing up was playing catch. No matter how tired he was from work, my father would smile and grab his glove when I would ask if we could toss the ball for a little bit. We’d walk down the hill that was our front lawn, split apart to take our positions on the street and just throw. Gently at first (and when I was younger), but eventually as far apart as our arms would allow. We would hurl the ball at each other, savor the sound and feel of the ball smashing into leather and be quick with the transfer of hands so that the ball was again slicing through the air.

We always told my mother that we would only be a few minutes. She always had to call us in for dinner before we’d begin to slow down the game. And even then, we’d toss the ball behind our backs or over our shoulders as we slowly walked closer to each other. One would place the ball in the other’s glove and then we’d walk back up the hill tired and grinning.

We haven’t played catch in years now, but we talk about it from time to time. What makes me happy is that when I say that it was one of my favorite things about growing up, he says that it’s one of his favorite memories of my younger years, too.

Like I said. Very much my father’s daughter.

Happy birthday, Dad!