Today, Father's Day, I'd like you to meet my dad, Richard Simon.
My dad taught me to swim when I was small, to duck waves taller than my head, and to snorkel. I remember holding hands with him in a kiddie pool, comparing my tiny knees and feet to his large ones. While he's only a few inches taller than me now, he'll always be a giant in my heart.
Since my mom, a nurse, stayed home with us, she was the one in the trenches with the day-to-day kid stuff. That made my dad like a celebrity. Birthdays were a big deal because he would take the birthday child to a movie or on some other special outing, and--best part--nobody else was allowed to come! One year I picked Bambi for my birthday trip, and we cried together. I still remember walking to the car after the movie, both of us wiping away tears.
When I turned eleven, he took me horseback riding. I loved all things horses, and I thought he was like a cowboy when he was on a horse. This was around the time I got into the Black Stallion books by Walter Farley.
My dad was super over-protective. Example: he interviewed my first date. Seriously. I wasn't happy about it. At all. I was fifteen at the time. I remember how awkward it was when the poor kid came to pick me up. The date fell on the same night my dad, a doctor, was having some friends over to play cards. My pediatrician was there. Yes, it was a night to remember.
My dad is hilarious, and he was considered cool by my high school friends. He's still cool. He was in the waiting room at the hospital when my daughter, his first grandchild, was born. He and my mom brought my husband and me a ten-pound box of chocolates, and they marveled at our daughter, who weighed less than the candy. Now he has six grandchildren, and each one loves him.
My dad is a great man, and he has always believed in me and my dreams. I can talk with him about anything. We can even laugh about my first date.
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Happy Father's Day to my dad, my husband, and all the other dads out there!