I missed my dad today, but in a really warm and fuzzy kind of way. It was a sweet moment when I thought of him.
It happened when I was on the top of a cliff face and preparing himself to climb over the side and rappell down. I was with a group led by the owner of 12 Finger Outdoor Adventure; we were all pretty much newbies in the defying logic and calling it fun department -- at least this particular chapter.
There were 10 in our group; three teenage friends, a husband and wife, two young adult women, a father and son, and me. I should note that Dad and I never went canyoneering or rappelling or anything outdoorsy that required much experience. (We did once go to a father-daughter Girl Scout campout, he scared me with stories of bears, and we left in the middle of the night because he was sick.)
It was watching the relationship between the father and son that made me smile. Dad always belayed his son; the second time Junior went down, he turned around and said, "You're going to be down there, right Dad?" When we were figuring out the order, the guide said Dave was next, and Junior says, "Yeah, Dave's next." We laughed as Dave said, "Hey! That's Dad to you."
So yeah, we never scaled a cliff face together, but I do actually remember that midnight camp escape with fondness. I have a picture of myself in the newspaper, from my last game as a high school soccer player, and in the background you can see Dad standing outside, watching the game. (He and my mom switched off who got the family pass to come into the stadium.) When I was 11 or 12 he took Rachel and me to Albuquerque so I could run in a track meet, and after dinner we went to a grocery store for dessert; he looked at the options, turned to us and said, "OK, here's how it's going to go. Everybody gets one except for me; I get two." We laughed about that for years. It's probably the longest-standing family joke.
Dads are a wonderful thing.