This is my dad (with my son K2). Big JD. He really is big. 6 foot 4, 275, hands that can palm a basketball. He's tough. He once put a chain saw on his knee and didn't know it - it was running at the time. He's loud. He used to be a coach and if he wants your attention he can get it - No Problem. But more than that he's a big, giant, squishy, lovable teddy bear. Everybody comes to him with their problems. Everybody comes to him for advice. Everybody comes to him when they don't know what do to, (or they need help moving.) And he is ALWAYS there.

When I was a kid my dad gave up his business, his livelihood and his friends so that he could keep me and my brother. He mowed lawns, built fences, coached, taught 4th grade. He did whatever it took to put food on the table for us, keep a roof over our heads, clothe us. And he was always there. He drove me to Girl Scouts, softball, diving practice, the DMV to get my permit (then he made me drive home on an L.A. freeway in a truck with a stick shift that I didn't know how to drive, but that's another story.) He gave me the birds and bees talk using a Reader's Digest article. He even bought a pair of size 13 roller skates (those sweet tennis shoe ones) so he could skate with my brother and me on the weekends.

When I was in high school he would come to my school every Thursday and bring me lunch. I would sneak off my closed campus and we'd spend lunchtime together, talking, dreaming, learning from one another. We had a standing date every week.

In college he would call me on the phone and we'd catch up, talk about books I was reading and I'd lament about my lack of a love life.

After college helped me move to my first place, supported me when I went to Europe to "study" and ski and then again as I crossed the U.S. for grad school. His job involved travel and he always made sure that his territories included the state I was living in.

My dad isn't perfect. He can be embarrassing. He tries to barter with the check-out ladies at Wal-Mart to get a better deal. He uses his age, weight, crossed eye to guilt people into giving him free stuff - but always with a big goofy grin on his face. He doesn't quite understand meaning of subtle and he is still getting used to living in the 21st century. His fingers are too big for the little numbers on cell phones and computer keyboards. But he's an absolute wizard with the TV remote.

When I decided to start my Stroller Strides business he was totally supportive. He always asks about my classes and is genuinely interested in hearing how things are going. Today when he travels he takes a few days to come across the mountains from his business in the valley to visit with our family, play with our kids and see how we're doing in person. We still talk on the phone regularly about books, TV shows and the final minutes of football games.

I married a man very much like my father. Big and imposing, smart and tough, but also gentle, caring, compassionate and quick to lend a helping hand. I suspect my son will have many of these same qualities as he grows to be a man. (Click the photo and you'll see he is already taking after his papa.)

So on this upcoming Father's Day I'd just like to say - for all the world to read - I love you dad. Thanks for being you and for loving me.

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Jun. 2, 2008 at 5:08 PM That was really sweet!  My dad is very special to me too!  I wish everyone had dads like ours!

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