This is one of my all time favorites of my dad...probably in my top three. If you are his friend on Facebook, it's been his profile picture forever, because he loves it too...and because he has no clue how to change it. (I definitely inherited the my "technical difficulties" from him). This picture was taken three years ago, after we packed up everything but the kitchen sink, trekked to our favorite campground, and got attacked by millions of mosquitoes (no exaggerating!). When we saw six mosquitoes on baby Tymen's face, my mum and I flatly refused to set up camp so my dad and Ben drove us back home and they "camped" with Ruby in the back yard. S'mores over the bbq. Songs around the lantern. Oma, the babies, and I sleeping inside. In the morning, I snuck out in my p.j.'s with my camera to wild laughter in the tent. There was hysteria from Ruby and Opa's corner while they were having a cuddle and teasing each other. Finally, Ruby yelled, "Opa! You are being crazy!" and put her hand over his mouth.
It's a phrase he's heard his whole life. His mother used to chide him with a Dutch proverb, which, translated, means, "Act normal! Normal is stupid enough already!!"
Normal is not his speed.
He's always been the loud one, greeting friends and strangers equally exuberantly. As teenage girls, my sister and I were mortified at how crazy and uncool he was. He was a happy guy and everyone knew about it. He would joke and carry on and your could hear him a block away. When I graduated high school he was hugging my friends, grinning, and telling everyone it was the best day of his life.
I distinctly remember a trip to Hawaii when we were in our late teens when he got stung by a jellyfish. His finger was swollen and irritated and we were at a drugstore where he asked the girl behind the counter what he could get for it. She informed him that the best and easiest cure was to pee on his finger. "Pee on my finger??? PEE ON MY FINGER???" Kelly and I slunk down by the chocolate covered macademian nuts as his questioning attracted locals and tourists alike. "Well, where's the bathroom??" When pointed towards the restrooms, he tossed over his shoulder, "I'll let you know how it works!" Off he went in his shark tooth rimmed hat. When he returned five minutes later, waving his finger, declaring, "It worked!!" we nearly perished on the spot.
No, he wasn't the normal dad that we were seeing all around us.
As we got older, we realized it was a good thing. My dad has been generous to a fault, with his time and money. He cares very deeply about people. He has extended his faith and values to us and modeled a walk with God that we wanted too.
When I had Jasper early in the morning, dad was scheduled to leave for a worktrip later early Saturday afternoon from Vancouver. When he got the call early that morning that his first grandson has been born, he jumped in the car to come for the three hour trip, see the baby for about an hour and a half, and then motor back home for his flight. It wasn't like he wouldn't see the baby three or four days later but he didn't want to miss saying hello on his birthday. By the time he got there, everyone was exhausted and taking a nap, except for me. Dad crept into the room with a huge bouquet of flowers and several Coffee Crisp bars (my favorite Canadian chocolate bar) and he was beaming as he held Jasper in the big chair in our room. He was so excited and had tears running down his face.
Seeing the way that he loves my kids and now my beautiful niece, is such a clear reminder of how he has delighted in us all these years. He will give horsey rides on the floor. He plays play-doh with the boys for literally hours on end. He coaches Ruby in how to improve her cartooning. He laughs with and loves them all.
I am glad that I didn't have a normal dad. He is the best, the very best dad, that I ever could have hoped for. No-one could have fathered me so well and cared for my heart like he did. I love you, Dad. Thanks for being such a clear picture to me of my Heavenly Father.
Happy Father's Day.