I’ve been thinking about my relationship with my dad a lot recently.  Not really sure why, but it’s been on my mind more than usual.  My parents were divorced when I was very young, so I lived with my mom and visited my dad whenever possible.  I didn’t get to see him as much as I would’ve liked as a kid, and I remember not being happy about that when I was younger, but I also remember all the good memories we had together.  He wasn’t always around, but only because the situation didn’t really work out like that.  But he’s always been a good dad, and was always there for me.  And to this day, he still is.

My dad has worked in the restaurant industry since before I was born.  He’s managed all kinds of different restaurants, from Black Eyed Pea to Steak & Ale to Olive Garden, and so forth.  I remember him waking me up early some Saturday mornings when I was little and taking me with him to meetings up at the Black Eyed Pea.  The staff would get there and have meetings about whatever it was grown ups discussed; I didn’t care because I was given soda and crayons to color, and the remote control to the TV behind the bar so I could watch cartoons.  Sometimes we would stop and get donuts on the way in, and the lady would almost always give me a little bag of donut holes for free for “being so cute”.

Some Saturdays when there weren’t work meetings to attend, we’d get up and go to Putt-Putt to play mini-golf and video games.  This became a regular thing, something I looked forward to a lot.  Dad would give me the majority of the tokens to go off and play with, and he’d usually end up camping out at a virtual golf game.  Yup.  We’d go to play mini-golf and video games, and after playing mini-golf he’d come inside and play virtual golf.  Obsessed much?  I didn’t care, I got more tokens than he did and it suited me just fine.  Sometimes we’d even do the batting cages.  It always felt like it lasted all day, when in reality I’m sure it was only a couple hours.  But I loved it and looked forward to it.  We haven’t gone in years, and I miss it.

Another thing we used to do was go to Pancho’s and pig out on the fine mexican cuisine.  lol  Well…we pigged out, let’s just say that.  Sometimes we’d go on or around my birthday, and he’d have them sing to me and I’d get to pick out a piñata to take home with me.  I seem to remember having at least a couple of them shoved in my closet at one point.  Nowadays the dessert bar is pretty bare, and you’re lucky if you can even get ice cream.  But when I was younger, I would get ice cream and put chocolate sauce on it with little oreo crumbs and nuts and sometimes even gummi bears.  *sigh*  Those were the days.

We don’t do those things together anymore, but the relationship between us is still strong.  A prime example is how well he and Keith get along.  I had never been in a situation to introduce anyone I dated to my parents, but Keith was the first and Dad was great.  He actually was the one who kept asking when it would happen.  When he met Keith, he was really nice…in his typical dad-crazy way.  He made sure that both of us knew how happy he was for us, and it came across perfectly.  He’s accepted Keith as part of the family now, and I couldn’t be happier about it.  Sometimes I find out the two of them text message each other without me knowing, but it doesn’t bother me in the slightest.  On the contrary, it actually makes me feel really good knowing that they’re pretty close.  Dad has never judged me or treated me badly for being gay.  If anything, he’s been accepting and loving and making sure I know it will never change how much he cares for me.

I’m really lucky to have my father.  Our relationship has had it’s ups and downs over the years, but the great thing about it is that we always come out the other side all the better for it.

So to my dad, I love you and thank you for being there and helping create these long-lasting memories.  Happy father’s day.