These People I Live With: Dad

Folks, meet my Dad:

Do you sense a trend?

My Dad was the best. No, really. Growing up, all my friends wanted to adopt him. I even had a boyfriend once tell me he wanted to marry into my family just so he could legally belong to my parents (sadly for him, that wasn't a compelling enough reason for me). But as great as Dad was and is at being Dad - he's even better at being Grandpa.

A few truths about this man:

Mom and Dad had 4 daughters - and even though we're terrific and awesome and he wouldn't trade us for anything (I know, because he often reminds us of this), there was a place in his heart that missed having a boy. I could tell, because one Christmas, he bought a big, shiny red firetruck engine (complete with moving parts and sounds - we're talking glorious!) to donate to charity.

(I suspect that this might be part of the reason why the three of us daughters who've had kids have had boys first. You should see the way my dad plays with his grandsons.)

Dad has an amazing singing voice. He's also ridiculously humble. My grandma didn't know he could sing until she was approached by the high-school drama teacher, who demanded of her, "Why didn't you tell me your son could sing like that?!" To which she replied, "which son?" The drama teacher said, "Russell! He's stealing the show in our play!" To which my grandmother replied, "Russell can sing? Wait...Russell is in a play?"

He was playing the lead.

At that time, actors would meet in the 'green room' after a play and accept compliments from the audience. My dad avoided this - remember? humble! - and waited until everyone was gone before emerging dressed again in his overalls to greet his family. So when he performed Camelot, a group of girls approached my grandma after the show. They were waiting for my Dad, who wasn't going to show. "Excuse me," they asked my grandma. "Are you Lancelot's mother?" "Yes," she said. "Oh!" they said. "Tell him that he can steal me away any time!"

 Dad as Lancelot

 Shining Armor, anyone?

He was so talented that he was approached by a talent scout who asked him if he would like to enter showbiz and make it big? My dad said, "No, thank you, I plan to serve a mission." The talent scout said, "Well, then, look me up in 2 years!"

Dad as Wargrave in 10 Little Indians. The hair, people. The hair!

But my dad decided that he didn't want to raise a family in that kind of culture, and so instead became an accountant. Whenever I think about this, I want to glomp him in thanks.

Dad singing Opera in Figaro
Not only does he sing and act (Dad, are you embarrassed, yet?) - he also plays the Cello. He was so good at the Cello, in fact, that he was awarded a scholarship while still in High School, and attended both High School and College his senior year so he could play the Cello for BYU.

One of my favorite things in the world is playing violin/cello duets with my dad.

My dad is really good with numbers, and arranges them in crazy ways in his head to make the math easier. I remember when I was in fourth grade (was it fourth?) and we were learning long division, I struggled intensely. I'd bring the homework home, and my dad would sit with me for hours and hours - sometimes past both our bedtimes - to help me figure it out. I pulled out my hair, I cried, I refused to do another problem - but my dad never lost his cool. He calmly, lovingly helped me to understand those beasts - and now I can do long division in my sleep. (just don't tell him that I still can't add!)

My dad is responsible for the wrapping-paper wars we have every Christmas.

My dad is responsible for 'prayer tipping'.

My dad loves toys - especially gadgety and big-boy toys. He loved recumbent bicycles so much he created a business selling them.

Last week he brought home one of these:

We have a family ghost - called Alice - who one time threw a blue rubber ball at my dad's head during family prayer.

He's a hopeless romantic - and is totally over the moon for this lady:

You can tell 'cause this is a picture of them in New York City. He takes her places like that. They say it's cause they love adventure and travel - but I think it's just 'cause sometimes he wants her all to himself.

He used to be the most patient person I've ever known. Now he's tied with Bill.

He loves to stay up late playing games with his family. He's really, REALLY fun to play games with. And he always shares his game-treats. And there's usually pistachios. I love pistachios.

He's always up for going to see a movie.

He's always reading a book.

He does not like lima beans.

One time, I got a flat tire on my way back up to school after visiting for a weekend. He drove two hours up, took my car to get it repaired so I wouldn't have to deal with it (because fixing broken cars has always scared me) and drove the two hours back. Totally interrupted his work day, but he was never anything but completely willing.

He has the best laugh ever.

We sing in the ward choir together on Sundays. He always opens the doors for me and offers me his arm so that I can walk in my haphazard pregnant-clumsy state over the snowy-slick ground successfully.

He plays with my kids.

Now, I know it's not uncommon for a little girl's daddy to be her hero. But trust me. For the little girl? This is a big deal. And he's been my hero my whole life long, showing me what a true Knight in Shining Armor looked like so that when I grew up, I recognized what I had in Bill when I saw it.

Now I have two. Try not to be jealous.

And now you have a slightly better idea of who one of these people I'm living with is, and what he's all about.

Now. Who wants to meet my Mom?


Diana Larson said...

You are absolutely right. I am JEALOUS. You are one lucky girl. And now to have a son and daughter who will love you with all the love you can handle. Great post. Especially thinking of the love of our heavenly Father during this holiday season.

Rischelle said...

And you should hear him talk about you! Pure adoration for each other. This is how it should be.

Grandpa Rusty said...

Um, yeah, I'm embarrassed. But thanks for your generously kind words and exaggerations of my sometimes good attributes - which are brought out by my girls. Love you.

Nae said...

Ooo! I want to meet your mom too! :) Uncle Russ, I sure love you.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

What a great tribute. :) Sounds like you're both lucky.

~j. said...

This is a lovely post.

(What's prayer-tipping?)

Megan.Card said...

THAT'S MY DAD! THAT'S MY DAD TOO!!!! I love him so so much! Thanks for doing this tribute to him Steph! : D We are some very lucky girls!!!