a dad, three grandpas and my son

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Happy Father’s Day. Since it’s a retail-recognized holiday, I’ll celebrate by blogging. 

Happy Father’s Day to my dad. 

 You are the best. Ever.  There was that one time when you yelled at me for burping out loud when we were having dinner at the Pit Stop Cafe. But I learned it from watching you, Ronald.  And then there were all the times you let me try things and do things and always encouraged me in your own way. I mean, Dad, that time you coached our 5th grade basketball team and we beat every single team was even more fulfilling since the only basketball game I think you ever played was H-O-R-S-E. Unless you didn’t feel like playing that long and you turned it into H-O. Or when we used THAT ONE PERSON’S NAME. I’ve learned a lot from you and I’m proud of it all. 

Now that I see you as a papa to Oslo, I get to see the love you have for him and it’s the sweetest thing in the world. He’ll grow up being able to have a grandpa in his life and I’m so happy for that. No, he will never talk and, no, you cannot cut his hair. Other than that, you’re a grandpa so everything else is free game. 

Growing up, I had two truck driving grandpas. And when there truck driving grandpas weren’t driving cheese all across the country, they were at home taking me fishing, giving me quarters, never letting me win at checkers and putting boobies on my snowmen. 

One died when I was in 2nd grade, which made it the worst year of my life. From him I learned that people don’t hand you shit. You work for it and you get better at it. That includes winning at checkers. I also learned how to negotiate Cheeto trades while sitting at the dining room table. Life skills, you guys. They don’t come with participation awards and my grandpa would likely mock every child that had one. 

My grandma remarried a widowed plumber that drove an orange and white Studebaker. The first time he showed up to pick her up for a date, I shut the door in his face. Soon after, they got married and moved from right next door to 30 minutes away. TRAVESTY. But he because the best third grandpa I never thought I’d have. He couldn’t hear a marching band two inches from his ear, was bow-legged enough to drive a Mack truck between his legs and just wore a rope as a belt on his dress pants when he couldn’t find a belt. He taught his grandkids a lot by  example; he exemplified not letting the little things get to you. He never told you that, but you saw it. He was the most patient soul I’ve ever encountered, even when he crushed your ribs with every hug. He died in 2006. 

My other grandpa is 91 and was running over a cat with his electric wheelchair when we were trying to FaceTime earlier today. This grandpa doesn’t say much; when he does share something, you stop what you’re doing and you listen. If he’s taking time away from watching the Weather Channel or RFD-TV, it’s important. He called me two weeks ago to see what Oslo was doing and tell me he might grow up to be a stand up comedian. The time before that, he called when we were driving through Iowa to see when we’d be there. That’s two more calls than I remember getting from him my entire life. He’s such an amazing silent example of an incredibly hard work ethic and a desire to provide everything you can to your family. He exemplifies pride in what he’s worked towards, like the riding lawn mowers he used to wax regularly or the fishing boats and trucks he would trade in on a regular basis. He’d give you the world if you needed it and wouldn’t ask why. I’m so thankful he’s gotten to know his great grandson. 

My little son doesn’t have a dad and not all kids do. My boy has a papa and a great grandpa. He also has two uncles that are so different in so many ways and yet are both the perfect role models from to see. He has a big brother that adores him and will no doubt be there to guide him along the way. He’s got more than a lot of kids out there and, for that, we’re so fortunate. 

We’re also thankful for the sperm of strangers in this household, both from Oslo’s donor and the fella who contributed to my existence. Thanks, fellas. I’m afraid there’s not a Happy Seed Provider Day, but we would definitely celebrate your… generosity.  

Happy Father’s Day, however you celebrate or however you don’t.