Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

I was the first born of four. Whether I was a girl or a boy, I was going to have my dad’s name. But I couldn’t be Jamie like him. I would be Jaime Lee. A more feminine version that everyone would spell wrong. (Forever.)

Mom and Dad on their wedding day. August 6, 1977.

Mom and Dad on their wedding day. August 6, 1977.

It worked out well for me that Dad is a well-respected and liked man and it’s an honor to share his name. I can’t count the number of times someone has told me what a pleasure it is to meet Jamie’s daughter. Usually that sentiment is followed by a story about how Dad has gone out of his way to help that person in some way. Usually a heads up that their vehicle registration had expired. (Sometimes I think he’s an undercover police officer.)

Dad drove a freight truck when I was a little girl, and so he worked long days, often not getting home until we were getting ready for bed. I remember getting up early in the morning so I could “help” him pack his lunch and have breakfast with him because I would miss him when he was gone all day.

Whenever he came home, he would have treats for us. Usually foil-wrapped chocolate candy cigarettes that he kept in a box under the seat of the truck.

In the spring, he took us fishing and somehow kept his cool when all my sister and I could ever catch was the bottom of the river. Or a low-hanging tree branch.

He would take us for walks in the woods and tell us stories. (He usually had chocolate bars in his pockets.) I love that my little girls and my nephews get to go on the same kinds of walks with him now. (He’s an equally as great grampie as he is a dad.)

He taught me how to make up stories out of thin air.

When I was sick, Dad would spend hours stroking my hair and singing to me, trying to make me feel better.

My friends all loved my dad because he was funny and foolish. He would tease them and they would tease back.

He taught us how to ride our bikes and to listen to our mother. He taught us to be hard workers and how to laugh. To respect everyone (including ourselves), to be grateful for what we have rather than envious of what we don’t, and that it’s our job as human beings to help each other out.

He also made it clear that if anyone ever hurt us, he would kill them with his bare hands.

I grew up watching my father love my mother. He would randomly leave us all notes on our pillows from time to time, to tell us to have a good day. And that he loved us.

Not a year has gone by since 1979 that he hasn’t given me a Valentine’s Day gift or buttered my nose on my birthday.

I wish that everyone could have such a Dad. I know that’s not the case and I am grateful.

I love you, Dad. xo

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