One of the earliest memories I have of my dad- is from when I was quite small. We lived in Saskatoon and we were heading to McDonald’s for a special lunch treat. It was just the two of us.

“We’re on a daddy- daughter date!” He exclaimed.

My teeny tiny self was NOT having any of that! I don’t remember how old I was- but I have always been a bit too smart and too sassy- I replied with something along the lines of:

“NO WE ARE NOT!!! You are married to mommy!! We are NOT on a date!!! You can not date when you are married!!!”

I sure told him!

I don’t know if the following happened on the same McDonald’s trip or if it was a different one- but I also have this flash of memory where he is sitting in the front seat driving and as he went to take a sip of his drink- I started freaking out and screaming “YOU CAN’T DRINK AND DRIVE!!! THAT’S THE RULES!!!!”

At a young age those MADD commercials had already planted themselves in my brain. Of course I didn’t know what the hell alcohol was! I also didn’t know that it WAS okay to drink a fountain pop behind the wheel- but I was determined to make sure my dad did not break the law. Rules are Rules… and they say not to ‘Drink’ and drive! Even if it IS just a Coca-Cola!

(I have been a law abiding- bossypants from the day I was born. True story!)

I was quite the daddy’s girl when I was younger.

(You know, until that sister of mine came along- how dare I have to share?!)

The good news was that I just happened to be the daughter who could mimic his strong Scottish accent!

“Round the rugged rock, the rugged rascal ran” 

“Ye have ta roll yer tongue in the front of yer mouth, and that’s how ye talk like a true Scot!”

(He would have us repeat that over and over again…)

We had our moments through the years- especially when I was a teenager- where we butted heads. We were constantly at odds with each other, both of us had our reasons. My poor mom was constantly playing the part of referee. One of my favorite phrases to yell at him during one of our many….many….arguments was “Save the sermon for Sunday!”

(Oh did I mention he’s a pastor?) 

Yeah- the 90’s were a bit rough between the two of us. 

Dad & Teenage Me!

However, as time passed- I grew up and we finally were able to make peace.

While we are still making memories (and occasionally butting heads) there is one memory of my dad that I will always cherish.

I was pregnant with my first daughter. An unmarried preachers kid in her early twenties. My future was quite unknown- even though I was still in a relationship with the father of my child – I was really scared.

Actually- to be honest, I was terrified. 

My plans had changed.

My life had changed.

I didn’t know what the future held.

My Christian guilt gnawed at me- while my rebellious free spirited side was trying to shut that up. The extra hormones weren’t helping- and I was constantly crying and having panic attacks about becoming a mom, making ends meet, my relationship etc…. I was doing everything backwards and I didn’t want my baby to suffer from it! My anxiety was at an all time high and I needed to put a lid on that for the sake of my little girl.

The worst of these “emotional attacks” happened very early one morning and my dad just so happened to be a guest in the apartment that I shared with my sister and another friend.

I woke around six a.m. or so and I just started crying. My mind was spinning out of control and I became hysterical. I was having panic attacks. I had been triggered by a bad dream, that sent me overthinking upon waking- I remember that it snowballed into this massive breakdown.

I was sobbing and crying like my heart would break. It was a jumble of reasons, like the ones listed above…

I heard a knock on my bedroom door and my dad say “Irene…..” and I let him in.

He held me in his arms while I cried it out.

He let me cry and cry and listened to my hysterical ramblings- mainly about what a horrible person I am and how this poor baby was going to have a shitty mom- all the while he hugged me and told me I had nothing to worry about. Whatever the future held, my parents were there for me. He was there for me. He knew that I was a strong person and that whatever would be -would be, and that I would find my way. He reminded me that God was there for me too. It was all going to be okay. He prayed with me.

That is the first time I ever really remember my dad being there for me in that capacity to comfort me when I was that big of an emotional mess.

That day was a real turning point for me. I felt better about a lot of things after that particular “emotional episode”. I needed that cry. I needed to let my fears and tears out, instead of keeping them bottled inside- but I also needed to have that conversation with my dad. I feel like that was a huge turning point- the one where I really gained clarity and ‘became more of an adult’.

He came through for me and you know what? He was right.

Things turned out great. It turns out that all the things I worried about were for no reason. If I had known then what I know now? I wouldn’t have had that break down- but you know what? I needed to have that happen to me. I needed that discussion. I needed that life lesson and that time with my dad.

Things happen for a reason.

He has always been there for me.

He and mom have dropped what they are doing and rushed to be with me during health emergencies, even when I am hours away. They have always been there to watch my girls – dad even bravely changed a diaper or two! Imagine that! Dad was also instrumental in the naming of our first daughter- when we couldn’t agree on a name- he was the one who slapped down a list and said “If you’re not going Celtic- If you’re not going German- You’re going BIBLICAL!”

(Sure enough we used one of the names on his list!) 

When my boyfriend and I decided to take our family to the next level and get married? My dad proudly walked me down the aisle and officiated our ceremony. IMG_5326

I get my sarcasm from him.

I inherited my blue eyes from him.

My quick wit and dry sense of humor – That’s from him.

Can you tell we’re related?

I get my flair for the theatrics from him (OH admit it dad!) 

I can thank him for my love of reading, writing and history.

We have so much in common, it’s no wonder that we still butt heads from time to time. We are certainly cut from the same cloth (Well….except for the whole political enemies thing…)

Dad- Thank you.

Thank you for always being there for me, even when you were *ahem* I was a pain in the ass….. 😉

I love you.


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