Last week I was having breakfast with a PR person at a diner in Tennessee. We were talking about kids and travel and parenthood. And somehow it came up that my Dad took me on a trip when I was 13 -- anywhere I wanted in the U.S. He did the same for my siblings. Our trip was to San Francisco, and it was a game changer. Somewhere between driving the crooked streets and going to the John Steinbeck Museum in Salinas, a real love of travel gelled for me. I tried different foods (OK, sourdough bread was exotic to a girl from Florida), went to big bookstores, and saw people who looked different than any I knew in our very suburban community. (At one point Dad said, "You might see two men or two women holding hands. That's totally normal." Way to go, Dad.)
As I've gotten older I realize how big of a deal it was that Dad carved out that time to take the three of us all on a special trip.
He was in the middle of building a successful career, one that required long nights and days away from our family. He says he planned these trips for us so each one of us would have our own time with him. Then, just as awesome, 5 years ago for Christmas he gave each of us another trip with him. We went to Boston, one city I'd never visited. We walked the Freedom Trail, went on a ghost tour (have I mentioned he's a great sport?), and visited the Kennedy Library. We walked through history and talked a bit about our own.
I was a parent by this time, but loved hanging out with my Dad just as much as when I was 13. (I mean, he got us floor seats to see The Police while we were there. How cool is he?)
Now I'm the one on the road. It's a symmetry that's not lost on me. So I appreciate what Dad did even more. And I appreciate what he's doing now in helping me parent, picking up my son from Vacation Bible School, taking him to Y camp, and to swim lessons -- sometimes in the same day (while he documents it all, sending me photos along the way). This is what he was doing last week, while I was having a meal with that PR person. When I told her about the two trips he gave us (among many more) she said, "I am going to remember that for my kids."
I'm going to remember that for my kid, and take him on every trip that I can. Happy Father's Day, Dad.