Sunday, June 19, 2011

Time Well Spent

Writing a blog about my Dad is much easier than buying him a Father’s Day gift because just like all other dads, he already has everything he wants.  Secondly, it’s guaranteed to be appreciated by him, because unlike my Mom, I know he’ll read it.  He’s a fan of mine, and he even reminds me to update my blog when more than a week has passed.  “Ashley, your blog is a little stale”, he says.

5th Grade Graduation
As a young girl, at times, I was jealous of my friends’ Dads who put on a suit and tie in the morning, hopped in their newly leased sedan and drove to some corporate office 30 minutes away.   My Dad, on the other hand, put on a t-shirt and jeans, tinkered around the yard or garage, made lunches for us and then headed off to his contracting job in his work van, a disorganized toolshed, on wheels. 

When we forgot those lunches at home, he was usually there to drop them off at school. He’s a self-employed contractor, loves his work and for the most part, always has.  He loves the freedom it gives him, the ability to craft something with his hands, and the time it allows him to spend doing other things he loves equally.  My Dad created a work-life balance that many dream about.   I appreciated this more and more as I got older and understand this completely as a young professional embarking on starting a family.

He carved out the perfect life for himself and his family.  A life that allowed him to spend time with my Mom, his two daughters, his family and friends and of course his many toys (boat, motorcycle, golf clubs, mountain bike, skis, tools).
Swimming in R.I. 1990

Here are 10 great memories of time spent with my Dad:

10. Vacations. Camping at Burlingame, fall weekends in Vermont, summers in Rhode Island, the Tropicana in Las Vegas, touring Ireland, mountain biking in Montana. He was always there and fully committed to them.

9. Boating and waterskiing. He held me in shallow water when I was 6 years old, while my Uncle Steve slowly drove the boat away. I popped right out of the water and have been waterskiing ever since. I learned how to slalom ski, about 10 years later, while he was driving the boat yelling at me, to get in back in because he doubted my ability to get it on the 5th try.  After he said that and pissed me off, I hung on tighter than ever before and got up. My Mom, the spotter, loved every second of it.  We all did.

Martha's Vinyard
8. Motorcycle ride to Martha's Vinyard when I was 14.

      7. Christmas photo time.  Every year, without fail, he cracks me up.  He has no shame dressing like an elf in tights, walking around town in a figure skating costume, and wearing fake-teeth while he pays for the photo session at Sears. 

                                                           6. Snowboarding and skiing. My parents taught me how to ski at a young age and my Dad and I started snowboarding when I was 14 years old. We’ve skied all over New England together. 

5. Swimming.  He came to almost every swim meet, be it at Beachland Park, Cornerstone pool, or somewhere across the state of CT.   He taught me how to dive while living on Ledgewood Rd.  He has always been the first one to run into the cold Atlantic Ocean, to body surf waves and he would stay in for as long as we wanted him to.

4. Watching him foster parent Robert and Cody.  I had the unique experience of watching my Dad parent our two young foster brothers while I was high school and for many years following. He loved them like they were his own and they had no problem acting as if they were.

3. Playing softball.   He coached my town league and played catch with me in the yard. He came to all of those games too.

2. My wedding day.  He walked me down the aisle with my Mom, and gave an awesome and emotional (as expected) toast, then we danced our choreographed Waltz, and then my favorite of course, non-choreographed dancing followed.

1. All the ordinary, non-monumental times the we’ve shared and continue to share that blend over time but are not forgotten; the rides in his van, him making the "I love you" sign out his window as he drove away, hanging off of his bicep as a little girl, the bear hugs, being carried, while asleep, up the stairs, grilling in the back-yard, waiting for him to clean the pool so I could jump in, having a glass a wine with him at the kitchen counter, sitting near him at a bonfire.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad. Thank you for spending so much time with me. 


  1. Great post and GREAT pics! Wow I feel like the bad daughter now.

  2. Ashley, stop making me cry. I love you. Dad