Monday, June 20, 2011

My Dad is the Best, and other Fun Fathers' Day Facts

This Fathers Day Weekend
Happy Fathers Day to all Dads out there! Had a great one myself. Every year around here a family we know (good friends!) hosts a fathers day campout with outdoor activities at their house on the lake. Usually there's boating, skiing, tubing, beach fun for the kids, and other backyard activities. This year it rained a bit, but we still found a way to play some cards, find calm periods to ski (me!) and tube (my son!) on the lake, and thoroughly enjoyed a cool but not cold night to camp in the backyard.

That was Saturday afternoon and evening. In the morning, I got up and got all cleaned up for church. Enjoyed that time with my wife and daughter (while my son stuck around the 'camp site' for the morn). Walked the cross up for the procession at the beginning of mass, proclaimed reading number two of the scriptures, read the mass intercessions, and eventually walked the cross out at the end of mass. Nice fathers day at church :)

I also received some nice cards and gifts from my family! My wife scheduled a massage for me, and boy did I enjoy that. I also enjoyed relaxing for the day, as my wife ran to the grocery store and made dinner - AND cleaned up afterward! Though it's back to normal this Monday, I will say that I had one of the best fathers day weekends you could have, thanks to the best wife and kids!

My Dad

By the way, who's got the best dad in the world? Me. No question. All you need to do is meet him. You'd see. If you saw him with me or my brother, you'd really understand. Of course, if you saw him with his grandkids, you'd understand, too. He is the best. Period. Best role model. Best assistant coach. Best passionate supporter.

If you get a chance, ask him about his kids. It makes him smile. Mention us by name, and his chest will probably pop the buttons on his shirt. Talk to him about his grandkids, and you'll hear some special stories. Growing up, I knew he was special. Knew it. We butted heads at times, of course - passionate people will do that. But I cherish every moment I can remember with him - especially going to all the sporting events, whether I was playing or watching.

I remember watching HIM play slow-pitch softball near the end of his playing career. Word is that he was really much better at fast-pitch softball. I remember him giving it up so that he could watch his kids play. Then help coach. Then give that up so that we could be our own players on a team. I love talking about how he became the Little League's equipment manager, and then eventually the American Legion Business Manager for baseball - not to help HIS kids necessarily, but to help in general - to GIVE. He still does the Legion job, by the way - and his kids are 35 and 32. He continues to give.

I remember going to Cubs games every year around my birthday, and going on family vacations that brought us to baseball stadiums in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Atlanta, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit, St Louis (ugh!), Kansas City, Minnesota, and Milwaukee (ugh!), too. I thank my mom for liking those trips, teaching me to keep score - and my dad for making them special. (I know you made them special, too, Mom, but baseball's always been a special bond for us Vitense boys - I'm crying now, just thinking about my dad and brother and baseball.)

If you can imagine a family closely tied through it's brothers and father (and baseball), then you can imagine my family. My mom is the head, no doubt. And she is the glue that keeps us together. But my brother and I have the best father in the world. Period. He is our role model. And our efforts to be good fathers is our tribute to him. We will, of course, never be the father he is. But we've seen his model. Every day of our lives we've seen it. His passion. His love. His support. His giving. And we pass it on to our children. Because we can never give away as much as he has given to us - passion, love, suport. But we'll try. To be the best husband. Best father. (Eventually, best grandfather.) Every day. Because WE have had the best Dad God could give. Every day.

Love you, Dad :*)

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