To My Father, the Best Man I Know

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You have the picture of the prototypical dad: somewhat distant, refuses to accept the fact that his kids are growing up, gives the regular old dad advice without having to get too deep, embarrasses his kids, and acts solely as the breadwinner for his family.

But you, Dad, you are so much more than just the typical dad. You are my friend, a trusted advisor when it comes to my existential crises, and someone who I can be totally weird around without having to worry about going too far.

Sure, you may still embarrass me from time to time when you mess up the names of people, places, and things (in your ever-endearing manner) but you have been nothing but a constant source of support throughout my childhood, adolescence, and this confusing place we call adulthood.

You were there for me when you picked me up after school dances, when I was crying because no boys asked me to dance. You told me they were immature. That I would understand much later. You never tried to lecture me, but just listened to me and told me it’d be okay.

You waited outside the store with me when I didn’t want you to see me buying tampons or bras or stuff like that. You gave me the space I needed growing up, but you were always there when I needed the help. You didn’t give me the same old sappy advice, or talk down to me when I was lost and broke.

You have honest conversations with me; you cut out the bullshit and the embellishments. You tell me to go for what I want, and nothing short of it. To never be afraid. And you remind me to cut something off if it’s not making me happy. 

You’ve also taught me what it means to love someone truly. You demonstrate how a man should treat his wife… always with respect. You adore my mother as your best friend. And even if you may not be together anymore, you still love her as someone you shared a life with, had children with. And I will always carry that with me when I go on to find someone to love like that. 

You inspire me in so many ways. You are your own person, and fill every room with your crazy loud laugh. (Or your super loud sneeze that makes the floors shake.) You get up to dance in the middle of the room, while everyone else is too embarrassed to do so. You light up the occasion with your presence, and want to bring joy to everyone else’s lives. 

Your focus on health and wellbeing, though a little neurotic at times (I mean, you run marathons while I cringe at the thought of getting out of bed), reminds me that you want to stay on this planet, for the long term. That you want to see me grow up, that you want to be a grandfather one day, and live long enough to watch those grandkids become people of their own, strong-willed, and opinionated.

Not everyone has the privilege of considering their dads as one of their best friends. But I do. And it’s not one I take lightly. As I get older and wiser, I want to make sure you stay in my life. Not that we get lost in it all, that we let the years pass us by in a flash. Because you too have so much life ahead of you. And I want to be a part of yours just as much as you have been a crucial part of mine.

For more of Defne’s writing, follow her on Facebook.