Mt Pleasant News
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 8, 2016

Thanks for everything Dad

By Steph Tahtinen

By STEPH TAHTINEN

Mt. Pleasant News

Father’s Day is coming up, and I don’t know about you, but I always have trouble finding a card. None of them ever seem quite right to give to my dad.

My dad is pretty spectacular. I’m a lot like my mom, but Dad’s the one I inherited my quiet side from. Along with some of his sense of humor. He once convinced me that a picture of that monkey that went into space was a picture of a Martian. He taught me how to make paper airplanes. And how to throw them at the ceiling fans at my grandparents’ houses so they ricocheted off. He taught me both how things work and how to figure things out for myself.

Dad has this ability to fix things that I’ve always admired. I don’t know how many times over the years I’ve seen him head out to the garage and come back with the perfect tool or item he’s been saving “just in case” and the problem is solved.

I remember one time when I was five or six my curiosity got the better of me. When I went to wash up for supper, I wanted to see what would happen if you pushed the lock on the bathroom door and then shut it from the outside. It turns out it locks you out of the bathroom — with nobody inside to unlock it.

I somehow sat through the meal without letting my parents know what had happened. After, I took off upstairs to my bedroom, where Dad found me a short while later bawling my eyes out. He had noticed the door was shut (but didn’t know it was locked) and thought maybe I had knocked over the houseplant in there. Although I didn’t want to tell him at first, I eventually confessed the awful truth.

We could never use the bathroom again.

I was convinced we were locked out forever. Laughing, Dad went out to the garage, found a long, metal object and showed me how easily he could pick the lock, though he didn’t show me how. I was very impressed at the realization that Daddy could fix anything.

Picking the lock was one of the few things he didn’t show me how to do over the years. I helped him re-plumb our bathroom. I helped him feed wire through the wall when he was doing a re-wiring project. When he washed the car, I did the license plates and wheel wells. Before I moved away from home, we had a father-daughter project of re-upholstering my future dining room chairs.

Dad has always been really great at spending time with us. When I was a freshman in high school, Dad and I would have father-daughter bonding time every Saturday when we brought the garbage into the dump. I know what you’re thinking — it sounds like a very exciting social life for a 14-year-old, I know. But, I had just undergone heel chord lengthening surgery on both of my Achilles tendons, was wheelchair-bound and didn’t get out of the house much.

At first our weekly trips were just that — a chance for me to get out of the house. But as time went on, I began to cherish them as a special time I spent with my dad. And occasionally, when I’m hauling in my recyclables, I think back to those days.

My dad has had such an impact on my life and taught me so much over the years — much more than he’ll ever know and more than I’ll ever realize. He has helped me become the strong-willed, independent young woman that I am today, and although I don’t say it often enough, I am forever grateful that he is my father.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.