Friday, February 12, 2010

A unique recipe

Today there is no traditional recipe. I am just going to spend some words talking about my beloved Dad. Before I go further I must remind folks that the other half of the dynamic duo has previously been lauded in this blog so don't think I am ignoring Mimi. She remains and always will be the very best Mom ever.

So what prompted this outpouring of affection...a valentine gift from my Dad. The gift was a box of two dozen delicious Cheryl's frosted chocolate and sugar cut out cookies with pink frosting. YUM! I adore these cookies and they are a real fave. The scent of vanilla and chocolate the way the cookie feels when I bite through the frosting into the tender cookie. The taste is incredible and makes we think of all kinds of wonderful, homey things. Despite all of this wonderfulness the most endearing part of the gift was the sweet gift card from my Dad proclaiming love from my very first love - my Dad.

I have always adored my Mom and Dad for the great parents and wonderful people they have been and continue to be. As a child and a teenager and college student they and Dad in particular went to great effort to assure each of us would be "good people" and have a way to make a living and and an ongoing commitment to integrity and a purposeful life. I cannot judge their success with me. I always feel like a work in progress. My sisters are awesome and a real credit to our family.

As a parent of young adults Dad switched gears from being a parental unit to being more of a guide and supporter. He cautioned us about some decisions - some advice was taken and some was ignored much to my eventual chagrin. See Dad you are right a lot of the time! Well most if truth be told. He supported us through graduate school and early career moves.

When things went awry he wouldn't spend a lot of time feeling bad about your situation or commiserating with you. Dad is the person who got you up and moving and pushing forward no matter what. He is always interested in promoting planning for the future and making great financial decisions. As a person who chose a career path that was less financially rewarding I didn't know at first just how valuable Dad's teaching could be especially for those with less funds. But I learned they were probably even more important to someone in my position. I do know that it was a challenge for Dad to see the way of the not for profit in terms of retirement and benefits when they differed so much from the for profit world. Dad was a great businessman when he was working and in retirement he continues as a wise counselor and investor. Some of my happiest times have been talking to Dad and looking over my retirement. I often see how much people are missing who don't have a person like my Dad to go to to discuss financial concerns.

While Dad has had many great achievements I think the best lesson he and Mom taught all of us is the value of family and the importance of commitment to your family through thick or thin. It's easy to be a happy family when times are good but to be a strong family when things are rough takes some guts and compassion. I think one of the best tributes to my Mom and Dad and their commitment to family came when we were celebrating one of their milestone anniversaries. Dad had engaged a table at a very nice restaurant overlooking Grand Traverse Bay. There were flowers and champagne on the table and the meal was wonderful. After dinner the sisters and a granddaughter each wrote and read their tribute to my parents. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. After dinner several of the people at surrounding tables asked to be adopted into our family.

One of Dad's many contributions has always been his steadfast hand on the tiller of the family. Always keeping his eye focused on the end result of a strong family unit as he refers to it. If things weren't quite right he could always bring us back to what was good about the circumstances and never let us stumble over the missing piece. He intuitively showed us survival and moving forward while working never to alienate those who were not always in sync with the group. Having sometimes been a person out of sync I can attest to the warmth and love that was unending. I can also speak to the power of a voice that could firmly work to help you realign your stars.

My sisters and I feel such good fortune and gratitude having these parents. After all birth is your first piece of luck or not being lucky and we know how grateful we are. So I was one lucky girl to have such a wonderful person who was my very first love. He set a high bar of excellence and as a role model in the love and devotion area of relationships. So Dad here's to you on Valentine's Day. You were definitely our first love and that was your first most wonderful gift to each of us. We return that love to you on Valentine's Day and every other day.

Be Our Valentine!


  1. tears.... beautiful... thank you...

  2. Makes me realize how much I miss my own dear Dad. He never forgot the Valentine heart shaped was always on my pillow when I woke up on Valentine's Day as a kid and teen. We were two lucky gals, Anne. Happy Valentine's Day to you and Lee.