Here’s to all the weird dads out there.
Here’s to the dads who grill burgers in the snow, who duct tape their eyeglasses together when they break. Who don’t trust traffic laws. Who engage in an ongoing battle with a certain woodchuck who can’t seem to stop chomping on the cucumber plant. Who “snuck into” Woodstock.
You see, I can appreciate these oddballs because my dad is a weird dude and I wouldn’t have it any other way. A little bit about him:
My dad, Frank O’Donnell, was put up for adoption as a baby, and spent the first few years of his life in an orphanage in Philadelphia. He was adopted by impossibly sweet and loving Irish Catholic parents, but never knew a blood relative until my brother and I were born. Ever since then, he’s lived by an “us against the world” mentality.
Because in general, my dad dislikes people. Boring people in particular. Boring people are the worst.
And he has a very low tolerance for small talk. I once witnessed him turn around and walk away in the middle of a conversation because there was an awkward pause. It was impressive.
His nightmare situation is holiday shopping at the mall. Last Christmas, he walked in, saw the lines, and adopted a facial expression that said, “This is my hell.”
But, despite all this, he has always been patient with me and has shown me nothing but love my whole life. He’s done anything and everything for me and my family over the years.
On countless occasions, he’s gotten up in the middle of the night to check for murderers when I was convinced I heard something downstairs. He’s come to all of my volleyball and basketball games, suppressing his instinct to flee when cornered by moms wanting to swap salad recipes. He’s had some choice words for my high school guidance counselor when she said I’d never get in to BU (my alma mater.)
He’s also held me when I cried, worked grueling graveyard shifts to help put my brother and I through college, and never complained as he suffered through five years of painful arthritis while my family saved money for a hip replacement.
He’s given me the best advice I’ll ever receive: “Live your life the way you want, and everyone else can get over it.” He meant it, too, because he always let my brother and I be who we are, which meant trusting us enough to make mistakes. And boy did we.
But, there were never any condescending “I told you so’s.” He was just there for us when we messed up. I’ll always be thankful for that.
So Happy Father’s Day, dad. You big weirdo.