Tragic Sandwich

Food. Family. Fun.

Life With Father

Bio Girl has a post about the father-daughter weekend her dad requested for his birthday. It sounds like a great weekend–and a wonderful birthday gift.

I did something similar, although it wasn’t for a birthday. Mr. Sandwich and I dated long-distance for our entire dating relationship–he lived in L.A., and I lived in New Jersey. When we got married, we figured that people were going to have to travel no matter where we held the ceremony.

So we held it in San Antonio, where my dad lived. My dad was our wedding planner (much of his career was spent in project management, and he spent 30 years in the Army, so this meant that he had a budget, a schedule, a goal, and protocol–it was a natural fit). He and I have very similar taste, so it was easy for me to delegate, well, pretty much everything, particularly since I was halfway across the country.

The bikes were my idea, but he’s the one who painted one of them red.

But there’s always more to do, and I had to move across the country anyhow, so I gave notice at work for a date one month prior to the wedding and moved home.

The movers emptied my New Jersey apartment, and I spent a day cleaning. The next day, I went to the airport and picked up my dad. The two of us spent several days (3 or 4, maybe?) on a father-daughter road trip, driving back to San Antonio. While our overall goal was to cover miles, we also took one “detour” each day–such as when we passed through Maryland and swung by the house that he and my mom had bought after I was born.

Honestly, I don’t remember the route we took south of Richmond–did we take I-85 because it was more direct, or I-95 because we were less likely to encounter snow? (Although it did snow at one point in Virginia and/or North Carolina.) What I do remember is the moment when my father, a lifelong objector to any kind of “potty humor,” suddenly started singing “The Diarrhea Song.” It felt like a crazy, tacit acknowledgement of my adult status–he could now be silly and crass without having to worry about the example he might be setting. At other points we recounted family stories and debated political issues. (Clearly, we have range.)

Once back in San Antonio, we began the final days of wedding planning in earnest–fittings, printing the programs for the church and the table cards for the reception, ordering the custom dark chocolate wedding favors (the chocolatier was another retired Army officer, so let’s all agree to lay down our stereotypes and go home), and more. My dad pointed out that it would be very easy to get overwhelmed by planning, so every day we rented a movie that had nothing to do with weddings. It was a great month, and I’m so glad that I spent it that way. Even then, I said, “I’m never going to look back and say, ‘Wow, I really wish I’d worked a few more weeks.'”

So when Bio Girl says, “You never outgrow your parents,” I know exactly what she means. And I totally agree.

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12 thoughts on “Life With Father

  1. I love it! It is so great to see someone have such a fabulous relationship. Thanks for sharing.

  2. This is so sweet. It makes me a little teary-eyed. My dad is also a military guy, and though we’ve had moments in our lives where distance separated us, we’ve rebuilt our relationship. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to laugh and just enjoy your dad’s company. 🙂

  3. Awww that’s beautiful. I am close to my dad too. He just turned 88 in April and is still in excellent health and even still drives, but I won’t ride with him! 🙂

    • I remember my mother making a similar decision about her father, when we helped him move to San Antonio from his home in California–she told my brother and me that under no circumstances were we to be in a car if my grandfather was the driver!

      • Yeah, I really worry about dad driving, but he’s stubborn and fiercely independent. And WA just renewed his license another 5 years 🙂

      • My grandfather was blind in one eye, and my mom thought, “Well, he’ll fail the vision test, and they won’t issue him a license, and I won’t have to worry about it.” But he passed the test and got his license, and there was nothing she could do except try to minimize the amount of driving he did. Finally, when he turned 90, his doctor told him that it was time to stop driving. We were very relieved that he listened to the doctor, because we knew he wouldn’t listen to us. (He was in most things very reasonable, but we knew that would be one of the rare exceptions!)

  4. This is really sweet. It’s the kind of relationship I’d love to have with my own kiddo.

  5. I love this story. My wedding had a project plan, too. And a spreadsheet that calculated the number of guests based on a formula that tried to account for the probability that each person would come (we had a destination wedding, and had to give the venue a rough guest count before we had all the RSVPs in).

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