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A father's imprint touches all areas of life

Some people are shaped by what they missed: the poor who strive to be wealthy, the unloved who spend a lifetime looking for just a shred of affection.

Not me.

I'm content trying to duplicate the best of what I was given.

Which brings up another Father's Day, another remembrance from this proud Daddy's girl.

Though my father died more than 25 years ago, I realize that – even on those few days I don't think of him – he is part of my life. What this man who never made a big paycheck passed on to me was priceless.

He is there in how I laugh and what I laugh at. The caustic sense of humor that got him in trouble unfortunately gets me in similar jams. When I'm the only one who cracks up at a movie, it's comforting to know that he'd be smiling, too.

My dad's work ethic is imprinted in my DNA. I don't remember him with only one job, not with a wife and five children to care for.

Even when I'm not writing, I'm thinking about what I should be writing, and the chore list never gets any shorter.

When I find it so hard to relax, I know it's the one thing I seldom saw my father do. Dozing in front of a television set to “Gunsmoke” or “Have Gun – Will Travel” was pretty much it.

When I look in the mirror, I see my dad's cheekbones and off-center smile.

Most of all, though, I see my father in my family, in the kind of man I married and the kind of parent I try to be.

Though I know you're supposed to, my boyfriend and I never had the “kid talk” before we walked down the aisle. You know, whether we wanted to have them, and if we did, when?

We were young and stupid and figured, I guess, that all that stuff would work itself out. Surprisingly, it did, when both of us had a parenthood moment at exactly the same time.

My husband took notes at every doctor's visit while the doctor praised him for being there. The new father scooped his son up as soon as he was born, signaling the start of a fight for my turn.

Though this attentiveness so like my dad's was a plus, the resemblance was not always a good thing.

My husband was the indulgent one, just as my father was. I had to make a rule: No toys until we've both discussed it. It sounds harsh, but how many cheap plastic gadgets they strategically place at the checkout counter can one house stand?

My husband lasted through each school assembly and concert, though – unlike my sleep-deprived dad – and he stayed awake for the whole program, not just when his kid was onstage.

Even now, when our son is 25, my husband – like my dad – is reluctant to relinquish his indispensable role. (Exhibit A: the strained back. I told my husband that if our son's in grad school, he's smart enough to figure out how to move the bed in his new apartment up three flights of stairs.)

This Father's Day, I stopped feeling sorry that my own dad never saw the grandson who's turned out so much like him, sense of humor and all.

He's been there, all along.

Some people are shaped by what they missed: the poor who strive to be wealthy, the unloved who spend a lifetime looking for just a shred of affection.

Not me.

I'm content trying to duplicate the best of what I was given.

Which brings up another Father's Day, another remembrance from this proud Daddy's girl.

Though my father died more than 25 years ago, I realize that – even on those few days I don't think of him – he is part of my life. What this man who never made a big paycheck passed on to me was priceless.

He is there in how I laugh and what I laugh at. The caustic sense of humor that got him in trouble unfortunately gets me in similar jams. When I'm the only one who cracks up at a movie, it's comforting to know that he'd be smiling, too.

My dad's work ethic is imprinted in my DNA. I don't remember him with only one job, not with a wife and five children to care for.

Even when I'm not writing, I'm thinking about what I should be writing, and the chore list never gets any shorter.

When I find it so hard to relax, I know it's the one thing I seldom saw my father do. Dozing in front of a television set to “Gunsmoke” or “Have Gun – Will Travel” was pretty much it.

When I look in the mirror, I see my dad's cheekbones and off-center smile.

Most of all, though, I see my father in my family, in the kind of man I married and the kind of parent I try to be.

Though I know you're supposed to, my boyfriend and I never had the “kid talk” before we walked down the aisle. You know, whether we wanted to have them, and if we did, when?

We were young and stupid and figured, I guess, that all that stuff would work itself out. Surprisingly, it did, when both of us had a parenthood moment at exactly the same time.

My husband took notes at every doctor's visit while the doctor praised him for being there. The new father scooped his son up as soon as he was born, signaling the start of a fight for my turn.

Though this attentiveness so like my dad's was a plus, the resemblance was not always a good thing.

My husband was the indulgent one, just as my father was. I had to make a rule: No toys until we've both discussed it. It sounds harsh, but how many cheap plastic gadgets they strategically place at the checkout counter can one house stand?

My husband lasted through each school assembly and concert, though – unlike my sleep-deprived dad – and he stayed awake for the whole program, not just when his kid was onstage.

Even now, when our son is 25, my husband – like my dad – is reluctant to relinquish his indispensable role. (Exhibit A: the strained back. I told my husband that if our son's in grad school, he's smart enough to figure out how to move the bed in his new apartment up three flights of stairs.)

This Father's Day, I stopped feeling sorry that my own dad never saw the grandson who's turned out so much like him, sense of humor and all.

He's been there, all along.

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