Tag Archives: family time

#37. & #38. father-daughter dates and paying it forward

I have been a daddy’s girl as long as I can remember. Ok, I’m a momma’s girl too (I lucked out with two super awesome parents), but my dad and I are practically the exact same person. He’s the guy who introduced me to Jules Verne and gave me my thirst for adventure and travel. He taught me how to make the perfect pancakes. Because of him, my first word as a baby was AC/DC thanks to continuous replays of Thunderstruck and Back in Black. He’s incredibly smart, creative, idealistic and one hell of a cook. I’m thankful to take after him so much.

As a teenager you go through this transition – from worshiping your parents as kids to not wanting to be in a 500 foot radius of them. Hanging out with your parents is no longer the cool thing to do, and so you replace Sunday morning breakfasts with your dad for Shady Maple trips with your best friends. Instead of staying in and watching a movie with him, you opt for boozy movie and manicure nights with your gals.

Then you hit your twenties, and you move a few states away and you realize how much you miss Sunday morning pancakes. And reciting lines from National Lampoon’s Vacation. Which is why it was so important for me to take my dad out for a father-daughter date this summer. Especially considering that the last one was 12 years ago.

Twelve years ago, I was in sitting in Ms. Lawlor’s history class. I was in 6th grade and it was my 11th birthday. We were doing presentations on the 50 states when my name was called for an early dismissal. I went down to the office and my dad was standing there with a big grin on his face. We went and saw Monsters Inc. at the local movie theater and grabbed some pizza afterwards. To this day, it is still one of my favorite birthdays and memories with my dad.

Always being one for sentimentality, I thought it would be adorable to take him to see the new Monsters University movie, to inject some nostalgia into our date. We bought tickets for a Sunday matinee showing, ordered a giant bucket of buttery popcorn and sat ourselves between dozens of other dads and their young daughters. So young their feet couldn’t even touch the ground. Before the movie started I looked around and watched as one dad fixed his little girl’s bow in her hair. She looked up at him and smiled so wide she looked like she could burst and she quickly gave him a kiss on the cheek. My dad had been watching too and we both looked at each other and smiled, remembering the days when my feet couldn’t touch the ground and he had to fix the bows in my hair too, years and years ago.

The movie was good. We both enjoyed it and even laughed a few times throughout. Afterwards, I treated him to lunch at the Olive Garden across the street and we spent the next hour talking about everything from work to weddings to favorite memories. To wrap up the day, we stopped at Dick’s Sporting Goods because he needed a new pair of work shoes. Because he spends all day making deliveries and driving a truck, a pair of good, durable work shoes always set him back at least $100. My dad is always looking out for others before himself, so I knew I wanted to do something extra nice for him. Before I knew it, I was swiping my card at the register and the look of surprise that came over his face made the dent in my credit card balance completely worth it.

A few hours later I packed up my stuff and was getting ready to leave for the 3 hour drive back to Maryland. Before I got in the car he gave me a big hug, told me how much he loved me and appreciated everything I had done for him that day, from the movie to lunch to his new shoes.

I kissed him on the cheek. And I made him pinky swear it wouldn’t be another 12 years until the next date.

My mom and dad at my recent bridal shower.

My mom and dad at my recent bridal shower.

I only wish I had known when I was 13 what I know now: that spending quality time with your dad is totally one of the “coolest” things you can do.

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Highs & Lows

Before I moved to DC, I would try to go home every weekend for Sunday dinner with my family. Every weekend, my dad would wake up early to put the Sunday gravy on the stove and we’d spend the next few hours drinking wine, sneaking spoonfuls of sauce and filling up on bread and olive oil.

Around five o’clock, after the gravy had been simmering for at least six or seven hours, we’d gather around our old, worn dining room table and break bread together, telling my dad how he had managed to outdo himself again with the amazing feast he had prepared for us.

My favorite part of Sunday family dinner was when we’d go around the table and each share our highest moment of the week and our lowest moment of the week. Whether we had won an award at school or hadn’t done as well on a test as we had hoped, everyone around the table would share in each person’s triumphs and moments of defeat. With a heaping bowl of pasta in the middle of us, we’d create a circle of strength and support, sealed with Sunday gravy and a glass of pinot grigio.

While I may only make it home once every few weeks now, I still want to carry on the tradition of sharing my weekly high and low every Sunday. I figure what better place to share than this blog, where I can find support in friends, both old and new.

THE LOW:

My low this week was how beat up and broken down I felt after coming home from work a few days this week. The workload was at times overwhelming and left me feeling drained and defeated.

THE HIGH:

My high this week was the quality time I spent with Mike, which I do not do nearly enough. I’m incredibly lucky to have someone like him who gives me the space I need and understands and accepts that I am a bit of a workaholic. I tend to put him last way too often and this week we made time to go explore DC and go out for a romantic dinner. We are getting better every day at finding ways to make our relationship a bigger priority. I’m thankful for the stroll through Adams Morgan, the candlelit dinner and the nights curled up in PJs, watching a movie. Each of those moments far outweighed my “low” of the week.

What about you? What are your highs and lows of the week? I’d love to hear them!