My husband and I have been blessed with two daughters, just as my own parents were. I have a million childhood memories with my Dad. Of course, there are the big ones – the family vacations, special holiday traditions and birthday celebrations. School plays, graduations and all sorts of milestones where he was right there clapping enthusiastically and showing me his unconditional love. Aside from all the ‘big’ moments that have become special memories, there are also smaller ones – that are just as vivid and treasured.
My dad would walk to the train station each morning. As I heard the front door close, I would run to my window, knock twice and wait for him to look up at me. We’d blow each other kisses every morning of the week, for as long as I remember. Saturday mornings, he’d always lay out the comics for us alongside our chocolate donuts. When we’d watch Family Feud, we’d all have our spots on the couch, and mine was right next to him. His Lasagna recipe is still revered in our family.
Shopping for ice cream with my dad was always an adventure. His tried-and-true rule was (and still is) that the flavor has to have at least three words in it. The more words the better! He’d pass over Chocolate and go for the Peanut Butter Chocolate Swirl Crunch. Imagine how awesome that is for a kid!
I remember all his amazingly special gifts for birthdays and Christmas. I’ve always said that in case of a fire, my dad’s presents are the ones I’d grab first (after my kids, of course). Fall reminds me of the giant piles of leaves he would rake for us to jump in. All these memories make me love him and value our relationship – and I know how lucky I am to continue to make memories with him and watch him make new ones with my daughters.
‘Pop,’ as he’s called by my girls, brings blueberry muffins for them and delights them with adventures of Mr. Bumpy, a tickling character who has them in doubled over with giggles during each visit. They, too, love his lasagna and are over the moon for his ice cream addiction.
My husband also happens to be an amazing father. My daughters have an extremely close and uncomplicated relationship with him. He does all the big things right – establishing family traditions, finding a cause for celebration frequently and planning all kinds of adventures for them in the city and beyond. He’s been hands-on since the first diaper change and both girls confide in him and value his advice. But what makes him truly amazing in my eyes is his effortless ability in transforming the ordinary into extraordinary fun.
Daddy is in charge of tooth brushing and mouth washing each night. I listen to the fits of laughter as he does the ‘Mouthwash Boogie.’ He improvises the song each night depending on their mood or something that happened that day – sometimes it’s the ‘Back to School Boogie’, the ‘Candy Boogie’ – and the other night it was an ‘AC/DC’ Boogie. He often has ‘jamming’ sessions with them, with him playing his guitar while teaching them old rock songs. He patiently explains the rules of baseball during Yankee games and for the SuperBowl, the three of them are in charge of coming up with a recipe for chicken wings. Most nights he watches Jeopardy with them and has them convinced that he’s the smartest dad in the world.
His work allows him to go in a bit later on Friday mornings. When our oldest started Kindergarten, Fridays were his morning to take her to school and that’s when the ‘Morning Variety’ tradition was born. They would leave early and head to her favorite diner where they split the same thing every week – ‘Morning Variety.’ He always lets his little lady decide how the eggs are to be prepared and if she’d like bacon or sausage. They sit at the same booth, and have become friends with Stephanie, their waitress. My daughter is not a morning person, and yet every Friday morning she springs out of bed and is ready for their breakfast together.
This year, our girls are finally at the same school, so now he takes both of them on Friday mornings. I love having the apartment to myself in the morning, but what I love more is knowing how much they all enjoy this special time together each week.
My husband is an avid cyclist, biking to work and all over the boroughs whenever he can. For the past few months, he’s been taking our oldest on bike rides along the East River on weekends. She’s been absolutely loving this and can’t wait to go further and explore more places with him. Last weekend, while my little one and I were at a princess party, they packed a lunch, biked 11 miles and had a picnic together on Randall’s Island. When they got home, she said she had the most ‘awesomest’ day ever and she can’t wait to ride to the Triboro Bridge soon with him.
When I think to the future, one of my many hopes is that my husband and I are lucky enough to live long and see what moments and traditions our daughters will create for their own families. I am hopeful that we, too, will be able to create our own with our grandchildren one day. At the very least, I hope that when my girls are adults, a bike ride or a trip to the diner will conjure up sweet memories of the wonderful father they’ve been blessed with – just as chocolate donuts and comics still do for me.
Prior to becoming a stay at home mom, Mina was an HR Recruiter for years. Now her time is spent happily juggling the demands of two young daughters while trying to expose them to the endless adventures the city has to offer.
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