Happy Father’s Day Doug.
Here are 10 of my favorite Doug-as-Dad memories:
1. Just a few days after I had Sara, he swaddled her in what he called “The Torpedo Wrap” and took her to her first pediatrician appointment. He left me home to rest. I loved his confidence as he bundled her up and took her off to the doctor for her first check-up.
2. When Sara was a toddler, I went out of town for some meetings and Doug tried to do Sara’s hair just like I would have done it. He worked hard to get the bow just right. Then, Sara wanted to do Doug’s hair. She had him sit on the floor in front of her and she stood on the bed. Doug handed her a hairbrush and Sara just stood there silent. Finally, she said, “Daddy, where is it?”
3. When Annie was born, I didn’t think we had settled on a name for her. We’d discussed the name “Annie” because we fell in love with the movie “Father of the Bride” and loved the name and the relationship between the dad, George Banks and his daughter, Annie. I think I was just coming out of the anethesia when I heard Doug on the phone ordering birth announcements and spelling the name “A-N-N-I-E.” I guess our baby will be named Annie, I said. The best part is that Annie and Doug have always had the good father-daughter relationship portrayed in the movie. (Added bonus: he has that kind of close relationship with Sara too.)
4. When Sara and Annie were little, we enjoyed their bedtime routines. We bathed them, dressed them in their cute little nighties and read books to them. Then, somehow, a new bedtime ritual entered the routine. We had massive collections of Beanie Babies. The girls decided to completely cover Doug with Beanie Babies and they would only remove them if he gave their correct name from their official heart-shaped tag. How many dads can say they excelled in remembering every name of every Beanie Baby?
5. When I was away, Doug took advantage and said, “Let’s do all the things mom won’t let us do.” They tried to keep their adventures secret but eventually, one of the kids would say something like, “When we went to Kentucky Fried Chicken for dinner…” or “I won the screaming contest in the car with Dad…” or my favorite, “Dad won the burping contest.” Oh goody.
6. Doug was a busy man while our kids were growing up — a demanding job that required long days, and a lot of travel; almost six years as the bishop of our congregation at church; and some college time at University of Pennsylvania, but he was never an absent father. Ever. He cheered them on at every soccer game, cheerleading competition, basketball game, play, and concert. He is one of the most involved dads I’ve ever known.
7. One of my favorite sights was to walk by Doug’s office and see him having a one-on-one conversation with one of the girls. They share all their stories and secrets with him. Even when they came home late and shared their reports on their events, he was right there, involved in all the details.
8. Doug always said great memories have to be planned. So, he planned some wonderful ones from trips to New York City to a night a Chucky Cheese, a special dinner at home or a fun party with friends, a night at the Kennedy Center or an afternoon at the ballpark. He plans for fun and creates wonderful memories.
9. Always a good sport, Doug dressed up and attended many tea parties. He and Annie always loved to play in the Thanksgiving bowl with our church friends, and they always came home muddy. He played the role of Prince to Sara in her countless reenactments of Cinderella at the grand ball. On our beach trips, we would often stop at the outlets to do some school shopping. The girls would scoop up lots of cute clothes, try them on and then agonize over which ones to buy. I would say, “Choose the one you’ll wear the most.” Doug would say, “Just buy them all.” Guess who they like to shop with most?
10. I think my favorite thing about Doug-as-Dad is that he is the ultimate gentleman. He took both Sara and Annie on their first dates, always sent them flowers on Valentine’s Day, and always tenderely loves, listens to, and respects them. He has set the bar high for all the men in their lives, and for that I’m so grateful because they know what they deserve and I hope they never settle for anything less.