For the Love of Dad | Happy Father’s Day

I never know what to get my dad for Father’s Day.

Since I can remember, every time I have asked my dad what he wants for Father’s Day, or any other gift-giving holiday, for that matter, he has given me the same answer.

Paisley socks.

Because he is a smartass.

Dad & Cousin

That’s him on the right, pants rolled up unevenly, like the little punk he is. He as about 4 here.

So for this Father’s Day, I thought I would make a little dad retrospective. Love you dad.

Dad and I are very much alike. Maybe that’s why we have always known how to push each other’s buttons. We do get each other though. Shy, quiet and introverted with a healthy dose of OCD.

Dad 2nd Grade

Dad in 2nd grade, 1960. Wicked cowlick dude.

Dad 5th Grade

Such a little stud in his Catholic school uniform.This was 5th grade, circa 1962

As dad grew up, he got really cute. Despite this, as mom tells the story, she was his first real girlfriend in his late twenties. Look at this guy, I can’t imagine how that could be so.

Dad Shooting Pool

Dad shooting pool, about 16 years old.

Dad High School Graduation

Super handsome Senior photo

This was dad during his Army days in Panama, during the years of the stache. It was not the best one in the world, but he did have fantastic hair, when he didn’t have a perm. My sister and I are ever pissed off that he did not keep his clothes of this era for his one-day children.

Dad & a Snake

Snake, stache and pink bellbottoms. Fuck yeah.

Dad Camping at Superior National Forest

See? There’s that perm I was talking about.

Then dad met mom. It was December 17th, 1980. Mom was a little hippie kid from central Illinois who spent her last year of high school living with her dad in Monterey, California.

Dad’s boss knew them both and decided they needed to meet. Mom showed up to meet him, and was totally smitten. She found out within a minute that she was talking to Owen, dad’s cute friend, a Josh Brolin type. Dad, meanwhile, had stringy hair and giant glasses. They decided to make a date anyway.

He showed up for their first date with THE PERM and THE STACHE. It was all over from there. Poodle heads were in love.

Mom, Dad & Grandma at Lincoln Park Zoo

That is my badass grandma on the left, and one of their early dates at Lincoln Park Zoo.

They got married on October 17th, 1981 at the Bahá’í Temple in Wilmette, followed by a reception at their house, and party in grandma and grandpa’s basement later.

Mom & Dad Wedding Garter Toss

Dad was really excited about the garter.

They honeymooned in Jamaica. For the honeymoon from my first wedding, we also went to Jamaica. We went on a booze cruise and sailed right past the place mom and dad stayed.

Mom & Dad Honeymoon in Jamaica

Such a sweet honeymoon picture.

They had a little pre-kid time…

Snowmen at Grandma's House

In which dad groped snowmen…

And then they had me! Parenthood! Eeek!

Me & Dad

At least they got a squeeze toy baby.

I was a pretty good kid. I liked to share food.

Me & Dad


And dad always knew hot to put me to sleep.

Me & Dad

Tell that kid not to suck her thumb, dude. That leads to sucky braces in 7th grade.

He liked to play with me too.

Me & Dad

Screaming with laughter.

Dad was such a stud in the 80s.

Dad Boating

Mom loves this picture.

And every time I see this picture, I think of this:

That’s right. And now, another of mom’s faves, on their 3rd anniversary.

Dad Looking Awesome

I must make this sweater for Papa Bear. Bitchin’

Dad has a lot of OCD and cleans like a madman. Here he is on vacation in Monterey, deciding to clean grandpa’s camper. Because it just had to be done, apparently.

Dad Cleaning


Then came baby Gwen. For a kid who has never weighed enough to legally give blood, she was a CHUB of a baby. And dad was back in good hair.

Dad & Gwen

Aw, so handsome.

But he still spent time with his older kid.

Me & Dad

So cute, we were.

This is dad’s favorite photo of him and Gwen. On the back of the original photo, it says, “Daddy loves his moon-faced baby Gwen.”

Dad & Gwen


Dad & Gwen

Moon face

Dad & Gwen

You can almost hear the squeaky little laughter, can’t you?

Dad & Gwen

Uber 80’s

Dad never minded getting girly with his girls. This is one way in which Papa Bear is just like my dad. He is so sweet with his little girl.

Dad & Girls

Precious Places is the shit.

Dad & Gwen

I have some serious childhood memories of this shirt.

Dad was always a pro at wrestling large batches of children…

Dad & Kids

Four at once! And we did not go easy, either.

And make us think we were winning.

Dad & Kids

Such an actor

Dad started reading The Hobbit to me when I was 4, and starting to read myself. By the end of the book, I was reading it. It started a lifelong obsession with not just reading, but geekery in general.

Me & Dad

Reading with your kids is awesome, even if you don’t interact with each other.

Dad & Girls

Pretty Pretty Princess board game. Awesome dad.

He also got quite a thrill out of being the Master of Ceremonies for the kid’s games at the giant company picnics.

Dad at Company Picnic

The highlight of the year.

Our first out-of-the-country vacation to Antigua.

Dad in Antigua

Our timeshare balcony. Heaven on earth.

Dad works for a Danish company, and has gotten to travel to Denmark on a number of occasions. They drink a lot and have quite a nice time.

Dad in Denmark

Steam huts and the sticks you beat each other with, I presume?

Father’s Day 2002. Dad opening gifts from his dear daughters. At mom’s insistence, Gwen got him a sock organizer, because he likes organizing.

I feel I should mention that at nearly every gift-giving holiday, there is always that one “what the fuck” present. When that one is unwrapped, much laughing ensues.

Father's Day 2002

This was one of those presents. Nice top cut-off jeans there.

This, on the other hand, is a beautiful hardbound copy of The Hobbit.

Father's Day 2002

Awful clothes, I know. Happy dad, though.

Dad got a chance to wear his tux for my first wedding in 2002 to walk his daughter down the aisle. This summer, he’ll get to do it again for my sister’s wedding. For my second wedding, there is no aisle. We’re just showing up and getting married really quick.

Me & Dad

This is what a 19-year-old wears to get married. So damned satiny.

Mom and dad love camping. They went to Bonnaroo with my sister one year. Then in 2005 they packed up the Focus and headed for the Grand Canyon on a two-week trip in which they camped out every night. They go big, y’all.

Mom & Dad Grand Canyon

So happy together.

Dad at the Grand Canyon

Dad getting back to nature.

Dad usually hates animals – at least the ones that live in his house. But every so often, he finds himself enjoying one. Baby animals get him every time though.

Dad & a Puppy

Dad and a puppy

Dad Being an Adult

Every time dad puts on his tux, he gets to urge to do this. Dad being an adult, everyone.

During the couple of years I spent living in Montreal, my parents came up to visit me one August. We went to the Just for Laughs and Pride Fests, where we ran across this guy covered in lights. He was walking around slowly, staring deep into the eyes of different people. Occasionally he would pick someone, and silently put a pair of headphones on you.

Of course, he picked dad. And what was playing on the headphones? No idea, it was in French, which dad does not understand.

Dad Being Uncomfortable

Dad is not comfortable with gorgeous men staring deeply into his eyes.

I also have him a haircut at my barber shop. I had awesome hair then.

Me & Dad

Neck shaving!

Dad and my boyfriend at the time both worked for the same international electronics company, and were both crazy tech guys. This is what happened when we left them alone together.

Dad Geeking Out

Cable management is important.

Then they went up to Old Montreal.

Dad Being an Adult


I worked in bars for many years. My parents, when I work Halloween, like to visit me at work on that day. In costume. One time it was Elvira and the Wolfman, this time it was that blue witchy creature and Death himself. When it came time to “boogie on out of there,” they did so literally, dad nearly hooking someone with his scythe out the door.

Halloween 2009

Masks courtesy of our friend Bill of Zagone Studios, the maskmaker/Satan look-alike

In February 2011, we had what we refer to in Chicago as Snowpocalypse 2011, complete with 8-foot+ drifts in places (like against my front door), and thunder snow, lightning, and all manner of hell. Chicago, not known for its light winters, shut the hell down for a day to dig out.

Snowpocalypse 2011


Dad Molesting a Cow

A little more of dad being inappropriate.

When Papa Bear and Baby Bear entered my life, dad got to be an instant grandpa. He is great at it, in small stretches. She loves him to pieces.

Dad & Baby Bear

Wheelbarrow rides rule

Dad & Baby Bear

Checking out the wind chimes up close.

My dad has always been a great one, in so many of the same ways as Papa Bear. He was never afraid to get girly with his little girls, and he never lost his sense of mischief. He loves fire, stereo equipment, and beer can chicken.

He’s the best dad there is, followed closely by Papa Bear. Love you dad.