Although I don’t have children of my own, I’ve heard sage advice that when it comes to your children, you should spend half as much money and twice as much time. My dad never had much in the way of money, but he always made sure I had plenty of his time.
This is the dad who took me fishing and we caught a catfish so big we had to call on other nearby fisherman to help us retrieve it out of the river. The dad who spent a weekend helping me craft a model of the planet Saturn out of plaster, house paint and a coat hanger for science class. The dad who spent countless hours teaching me how to perfect my free throw. The dad who made and decorated a homemade kite with me, named it “The Swearingen Special” and took me out on the perfect windy day to fly it. The dad who challenged me to save my babysitting money and matched me dollar for dollar until I could afford the ten-speed bicycle of my dreams. The dad who helped me build a bird feeder and paint it orange. The dad who gave me my first butterfly net and helped me collect butterflies for years to come. The dad who was sincerely impressed with me for spelling the word “yogurt” during an after-dinner Scrabble game. The dad who took me camping, patiently setting up the tent and making me a foil dinner over a crackling fire in the park just across the street from our house. The dad who helped me build a hutch for my pet bunny, Eddie Rabbit. The dad who convinced me that whatever I do in life, I should do it passionately and with joy.
This is the dad who was willing to give me all of the time he had, until his time ran out. This is the dad I still miss every day.