Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Triple Crown

My dad.

There are really no words to fully summarize the impact he has had and still does to this day. If you know him, you know what I mean.

He has a heart of gold, openly cares about his kids and grandkids and nothing makes him happier than being with his family. I have probably 100 special emails from him he's sent to me on my bad days, my good days and just so-so days. That's 100 just in the last year. He knows and remembers every detail about my friends, my friends' kids. my friend's family and will send articles from the newspaper, websites or videos if it has anything to do with any topic we're remotely interested in.

Like Julie's son Nathan just started a new soccer team and I probably know more that Julie does about the team, the fees to be on that team, their travel schedule, and how many goals each player on the team has, and the coaches.

We always bonded over soccer growing up; I played since I was 5. When I got older, we went to Taco Bell after each practice, then to McDonalds for an ice cream cone and sometimes he'd have 2 in his hand while driving with his knees. He loved them that much. We had the best talks even though I couldn't recite one topic discussed, but looking back now I realize how much I took those talks for granted and couldn't wait to get home to call my best friend to discuss the topics of the day. He drove to and fro each practice, which was about a 42 minute ride one way so I could be on the most competitive team in our area. He never missed a game, even when I sat the bench my freshman year at UCF, he'd take off work at Motorola and drive 3 hours just to see my ride the pine. If that wasn't motivation to train extra that summer, I don't know what was.

In high school he was the manager of the club soccer team and while we were at the hotel horsing around staying up past curfew with the girls, he was in the laundry room washing all of the super smelly uniforms for the whole team. When people would thank him, he'd smile and say it was the best time ever. And now I know how much he meant it. All he wants is to see his girls happy and will do anything in his power to make that happen.

To say he's always there for his girls and grandkids is an understatement. To drive you to the airport, help you move a refrigerator, wait for the furniture guy, to hang with the kids while I run to the store, no matter what he's there and only a phone call away to be there in 10 minutes. One time when David and I were out of town he wanted to surprise us by running a cable to our patio so we could have cable tv outside. He went from the front of our house to the back of the house IN THE ATTIC! Crawled through a tiny space like he was a navy seal in the middle of a hot day, but had to turn back around because of heat exhaustion and almost passed out in my attic. I shudder at the thought if he wouldn't have been at the airport to pick us up and we would've all been puzzled where he could be. Okay, I'll stop there.

He's a staple at every kid event then and now and nothing is more important than being there for us. He comes over just for every one of Lily's swim lessons and I swear if Grady takes up underwater basket weaving, he'll be the first in line buying the twine for him and will know every technique under the sun that would put Longaberger out of business.

And God help you if you're driving anywhere you might not be familiar with because you will get a full dissertation of how to get there, alternate roads that may work, every gas station along the way and I promise you he brought me this map for our park play date when I told him I got a little turned around in a solo trip to Tampa when i-275 and i-4 met me with a question mark.

Other than the obvious extra giggles and time I get with Grady and Lily, the other best part of being home with them has been all of the quality time I've had and the kids have had with him.
He's ready at a moments notice for any type of field trip with the kids. He'll do anything . anytime. And we all benefit from him.

He had eye surgery and didn't have any other sunglasses other than the ones he got from the doctor's office so Stevie Wonder it was. How can he still embarrass me at 36 like when I was 14?

He got some new ones for dirt cheap through his insurance and said "do you know anything about Maui Jims?" and said it like it was a different language, hard to pronounce. He's also taught us how to respect money and not to indulge. We got just a little taste of that one and not the whole ladel of that lesson.

If you know my dad, you love him. Gentle spirit. Nice. Always there. Cute. Funny. Sweet. Thoughtful. Caring. Always there. He's the perfect balance between always there, but never overbearing.

We go for runs every week with Jen. He's on the bicycle while Jen and I huff and puff through our endless stories. He listens like he's taking notes, studying for the bar exam. We've cried, laughed and bonded over silly or important stories that mean more to me than the miles we've covered. He's heard of every heartbreak and heart filling story and I bet he could retell them at a moment's notice. Actually it'd probably take him an hour to retell it, but all the details would be in there.

When I graduated from college and stopped playing soccer, I know he missed it , but referee'ing was a way to get back in the game from another perspective. He was never the calm, quiet spectator and once got thrown out of a game for yelling at a ref "HEY REF GET IN SHAPE" when the portly guy couldn't move quickly enough out of the way of the play of the game. I was 12 and MORTIFIED. I wanted to dig a hole in the field and bury myself alive from embarrassment. I say his ref'ing days were his penance in apologies for his sideline behavior when I was younger. He loved ref'ing as it filled the void, but he was sidelined for a few years with a knee injury that lead him to have knee replacement surgery. We didn't know he'd ever recover fully enough to get back on the field, but he never gave up. He rode his bike like Lance Armstrong, ate healthy and got up at 4:15am before our runs to go to the gym to lift weights. And you know what? He's back out on the field now better than ever! Guess what he got for Father's Day? A framed picture of his studliness.

Happy Father's Day Dad. I hope you feel celebrated today and everyday.

If my dad wasn't enough, rewind the tape to David's dad, Larry who I affectionately call LareBear. He's as sweet as he looks, loves to play practical jokes, and as wholesome as they come. He's like the salt of the earth.
Larry doesn't gush with his feelings like my family does because we're like a hallmark commercial when we meet for 5 minutes at the grocery store, but you feel it when you're with him. It's unspoken, but spoken with every word. And it always feels good.

He's a wealth of knowledge about everything, loves baseball, hunting, fishing, yardwork, his rocking chair, cheez-its, peanut butter on ritz crackers, and race car driving like his life depended on it. I love when someone has a passion for something. No matter what it is, Larry loves deeply with intese loyalty and always puts his family first.

He teaches me (and the kids) to slow down, savor the important things, put away cell phones and just be present. It's as if he doesn't own a watch because he's never in a rush to be anywhere, but where he is at the present moment. And that's together with his family.

I love that our kids get those lessons for free like they're going to the best private school in town, but we get an all expense paid tuition to the front desk in the classroom.

I love that I married someone who had Larry playing such an incredible impact on his life that trickles down into our kids.

I see so much of Larry and my dad in David. He's like a cross section of the 2 people. Our kids get the triple crown with dads. David is such a family man. I see it with his loyalty. With his patience. With his be there for every moment attitude. His responsible ways. His stable personality. He doesn't gush with his feelings, but when he does it's like a dam broke. He shows it in his actions. Always tidying, cutting the grass, cleaning the pool, playing catch, scrubbing the shower, making detailed spreadsheets for budgets, doing laundry, packing the kids lunch bags, calling for kid updates, and endless reading of stories to the kids. I see it in his love for seeing his kids happy and I thank God everday I have a partner for life raising Lily and Grady with the same ideas and values we want them to learn.

They say you marry someone like your father and that's fine by me, but I think they took it a step too far when they showed up to dinner in the same shirt and shorts, down to the belt and sneakers. I love that David and my dad are buds and sometimes I feel like the 3rd wheel when we're altogether, but this was a bit much even for me.

And since David played for the Cubbies back in the Pre-Kelly days, (can you believe there's such a thing?)I thought it'd be neat to take Grady's 7 month picture in his alma mater jersey. Please note; Grady is 8 months old now, but wearing 18-2T clothes. GASP. And Grady knows one emotion and one emotion only. Happy.

And nothing makes us happier.

Happy Father's Day to all the influential dads out there that are there for your kids as babies or adults. And the role models like Uncle Jamie, Uncle Duane, Bob, and Uncle Dan who capture the fun loving, hard working, always there, awesome all around dad trophy, you'll never truly know the impact you're making on your kids and mine, but it's sure a powerful force. Feeling so lucky to be surrounded with such love and devotion from all the dads to our kids and theirs too. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!


Cibele said...

What a beautiful tribute!

Grandpa said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Grandpa said...

After I wipe away a couple of tears, let me say if I had the chance, I would do it all again . . . I don’t know when I began to feel that my daughters were very special . . . probably from Mary always nurturing and loving ya’all.

I considerate it a privilege to be your Father . . . so Kelly . . . with daughters like you and Molly and Jennifer . . . I’m the thankful one!

. . . and as I see how Lily and Grady are ‘special’ to you . . . I’m happy to see you believe it’s a privilege to be their Mother . . . and I think that’s the right way to feel.

Love Ya!

Dad & Grandpa

Btw . . . you could

Leah said...

Whoa... my favorite post yet. That was incredibly written. I don't know your dad but I love him! LOL! You're very blessed with all the wonderful dads in your life! Oh, and I love Grady's helmet. xo

Annie said...

Beautiful post. I have tears. I feel this way about my dad too.

Kristin said...

Hello! I know you don't know me, but we've got something in common. I got your blog address off the Stirrup Queen's blogroll and was wondering if you wouldn't mind helping me help a couple who is trying to add a little one to their family. We're holding a silent auction for them this weekend (Friday and Saturday) on and need help getting the word out! We would love it if you would spread the word via social media or here on your blog. Additionally, we are always looking for more donations to auction off, so if you or someone you know might be interested in making a donation, all the information is under the donate tab. If you have any questions or would be willing to post a pre-written blog post about the auction and the sponsored couple, please contact Kristin at Thanks in advance for taking the time to consider this!

Julie Frizzi said...

Seriously (wiping tears from my eyes)!! Wow, Kelly. I think you are incedible at spilling your guts....This blog post has to be a favorite of mine. It inspires me to be the best parent I can be and I am lucky to learn from these gentle giants!! I also must say little Grady is a gentle giant. I am filled with such peace after holding and watching him tonight!! Lily was so happy to be running in the water and love the way you and Jen interact together. And that Katie in her bathing suit.........whistle whistle.wowie. so cute!! Love your family.

Kelly said...

Hello, you don't know me. I am Kimberly Ratcliff's cousin. Kim told me about your blog back when I was pregnant and wanted to decorate my new baby boy's room in blue and brown. I found the post, and couldn't stop reading and looking at all the beautiful pictures you had eloquently posted. I am a new mom, to one amazingly happy little man who is 5 months old now, and looking at your heartfilled posts reminds me of how blessed I am to have my own little family. After I read a few of your posts I had to look at my own little guy and give him a good snuggle. :) I hope you don't feel like I am intruding on your blog, as I don't know you, but I had to tell you how inspiring your blog is, and what a lovely family you have.:) Thanks for saying what every love-drunken mommy feels!
-Kelly A.

man with van in London said...

Lovely blog, very spectacular photos, catchy :]

removals London said...

Nice! I really enjoyed reading your post. Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work.