A Burgundy and Gold Obsession
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Cake or Death?

Thank you, Dad

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Today (depending on when you read this) is Father's Day. Time to reflect on everything my Dad has given me, and a time to appreciate him.

Especially for sports. There is something that bonds fathers and sons together when it comes to sports. I don't know what it is, I don't fully understand it. But I do know that I root for the Redskins because Dad has been a Skins fan for as long as I can remember.

I remember '87 so clearly because I was watching the 2nd Quarter with my Dad.

But as much as I remember and appreciate my Dad for passing on a love of sports to me, I am thankful he was my father for far more important reasons as well. In '87, he was in grad school, working during the day to support us, and staying up until 2am to study so he could spend a couple of hours with us in the evening. Couldn't tell you specifically what we did, but that's not really the point, is it? The point is the behavior modeling that I saw.

I also remember Dad working for the Hampton Veteran's Hospital as a staff psychologist, taking a calling card to work with him so he could call us to let us know when he would be home, because he felt it was wrong to make a long distance phone call from his office phone (I would have hoped karma would have helped him, but he told me what his property tax bills are recently). I remember him working with vets who suffered from PTSD before anyone really knew what PTSD was or how serious it is, coming home devastated over the conversations and therapy sessions he held, yet going to work the next day, not for the money, but because those men [U]needed[/U] his help. I remember him being ready to quit or more than one (or more than 20, but who's counting?) occassion because of the redundancy and ineffieciency of the federal government in general and his hospital in particular, but never pulling the trigger and actually doing it. Because those men needed him.

And I will certainly always remember his retirement celebration at the VA last year, when staff member after staff member stood up to say a few words about how much he had meant to them and how [I]they[/I] would have quit if it wasn't for his influence. And then I remember someone pulling me aside right before some vets got up to speak, and this person telling me they had never seen patients (or vets) at one of these retirement parties before, usually they were just for staff members. And I will never forgot as vet after vet stood up and thanked Dad for helping them quit smoking. For helping readjust to society. For saving their lives.

I'll never forget that, Pop.

Over the years, our relationship has changed. A lot. Dad/son has an interesting dynamic, children listen and observe far more than we ever realize, I think. As I have grown older and have kids of my own, our relationship has transitioned to him providing guidance, relating to parenting, work, relationships, and many, many other things.

And now? I still need guidance. Lots, sometimes. And there was a time recently when my world came crashing down and I am so thankful he was there to comfort me and encourage me.

But you know what I love now? We are friends. Good friends. Really good friends. Maybe even best friends. Watching the NBA Finals this year was a blast. Early on, when Ray Allen was draining threes against the Knicks, or when the Lakers were losing to Dallas, I would call Dad, and say, "Did you see that?!?!" or "Can you believe that? - What kind of defense was that?"

I know he will be watching, and I want to share that with him, moreso than anyone else. I can not wait until the Fall, when we do the same thing during the Redskins' games.

"What is Shanahan thinking?"
"What a catch by Hankerson!"
"Can you believe we're beating Dallas by 40?"

:)

Dad, you've provided me the best damn role model anyone could ask for. A role model in work, marriage and life. You have given me guidance (and money) upon occassion without judgment or reservation. And now, you are my closest friend. Thank you for everything. Thank you.
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