Some of the best memories I have from my childhood are from the adventures Dad took us on. We hiked mountains, paddled down rivers, took long bike rides, learned to ski and went camping and fishing. He made the best trail-mix (with M&Ms and chocolate chips). He drove a big blue van and sometimes we'd pile in it in our PJs with a giant bag of popcorn and go to the drive-in. Dad had a key to the tiny library in our village so I always had access to books when I ran out. He read to us about Narnia and Hobbits. He taught us the words to John Denver songs and The Gambler - so we could sing along with him on long car trips. He tried to teach me to play baseball (but I'm afraid I was a disappointment). He humored us and mowed special badminton courts when we decided to hold multi-day tournaments. He grew giant overgrown zucchinis in the garden and didn't mind when we used them as baseball bats (He also grew misshapen pumpkins that made the best jack-o-lanterns). In the fall we would spend hours searching out the best tree in the woods near our house and then spend hours the week before Christmas trying to find it again in the snow so we could cut it and bring it home.
My father has been a dad for almost 37 years now and I know it wasn't always easy on him. I was not the worst teenager in the world, but I was the first one he was responsible for. He managed to teach me to drive (and insisted we practice during snowstorms). He panicked when I burned cookies late at night, but was cool as a cucumber when he had to dig the car out of the snowbank I'd run into trying to get home before curfew. I know he didn't know how to deal with my teenagerness most of the time, but he rode it out and I grew up.
Two days ago my father gained a third daughter in the form of my lovely new sister-in-law (more on that later...). We're happy to share him with her. There are already new adventures being planned.