For the month of November I’ve decided to post each day about a person or people who have influenced my life for good. There’s no way I could include each and every person in one month or even one year, and for that I hope you’ll forgive me. This year, especially, has brought an acute awareness of the kindness and generosity which surrounds me and my kids, so here’s one attempt at giving thanks.
13 – Jerry
I mean…he’s my dad.
He’s retired, he lives in a cabin in the woods. He taught P.E. (elementary and middle school) for over 30 years, and loved it. He coached a lot of sports. He wears New Balance sneakers and a Dancing Bears belt. He’s got a wicked-impressive record collection.
For years, with few exceptions, I’ve called and spoken to my dad every Sunday. I like this tradition, it’s good to catch up on a regular, expected basis. Sometimes we talk for 20 minutes, sometimes we talk for 2 hours. We talk during the week, too, when we need to, but Sundays are our usual.
Another tradition is his coming out to visit once a year. This year hasn’t happened because of unusual and new circumstances, but he’ll visit soon. When he does, he loves taking my kids swimming, teaching them how to do headstands or how to better run or kick, whatever they want to do. And my kids wear him out: he crashes hard at the end of each day.
I get my love of music, my love of discovering new music, my love of live music, from my dad. One of the Noonan Love Languages is attending concerts. Many of my earliest memories are of my dad asking, “Jenny, who sings this?” and I’d guess, “The Stones? Doobie Brothers? Grateful Dead?” He taught me well.
I also got my love of laughing, of watching stand-up comedy from my dad.
I didn’t realize it until very recently—as in, this year—that I also got athleticism from my dad. Not because he isn't but because I didn't think I was. That’s right, I’m sporty. I don’t understand the footsball, not even a little, but yes, I’m, like, athletic-ish.
My dad has helped, and continues to help, me out in more ways than I can say, and in ways I’ll never be able to pay back. But he always, always says, “I’m just paying it forward. And you will, too, when you can.”
He’s right. I learned it by watching him.
Thanks, Dad. I love you.