I am particularly close with my parents. When I was in high school, they decided to divorce. It was one of the singular most painful experiences I had up until that point. I am sure it was equally as painful for them. It never occurred to me that they would potentially be apart, and I was very confused that our family would be dismantled. Divorce was something that happened to other people’s parents, not mine. I felt cheated, and as a teenager I was becoming more and more delinquent. I was angry with my both my mom and my dad.
My parents parted ways, and I stayed with my mom. Regardless of their differences, my parents agreed to remain civil enough to not make holidays and life events a struggle for me.
It was arranged that I would see my father every Sunday. He would pick me up every Sunday morning, and we would go to breakfast. Sometimes we would go for long drives, sometimes we wouldn’t go anywhere at all. He never wanted to be apart from me.
While I was in college, I moved in with my dad.
I later lived with two different boyfriends and I moved around a bit, but after one terrible breakup after the other, I ended up back at my dad’s. For a while, I was convinced that I would never find the right person for me; I was convinced that marriage just wasn’t in my stars. I was jaded. My dad would spend hours consoling his little girl, trying to convince me that one day I would marry, and that one day I would meet the person with whom I would settle down and start a family of my own. He was right. He always is.
I have a special relationship with my dad. I have learned through the years that not everyone has this same blessing. Each year, I make the strongest efforts to dazzle my pop with fun dinners, exciting little getaways, and useful gifts. I feel that I will never be able to show my dad just how important he is to me, but I will do my damnedest to try.
One year, I took my dad up to Mentor Headlands State Park in Mentor, Ohio.
It’s about an hour away from where I now live, but it is well worth the drive. It satisfies our longings to have a day at the beach, but it is not such an overwhelming commitment as a full-fledged vacation. It’s not exactly the same thing as going to the ocean, but there is a mile of natural sand beach, waves, grills and plenty of tables for picnicking, changing areas and restrooms, and usually sun! A very short distance from the beach are two restaurants: Pickle Bill’s Lobster House and Brennan’s Fish House. My dad and I have only ever been to Pickle Bill’s, but I hear Brennan’s is also good. Pickle Bill’s has Lake Erie perch and walleye, and of course they also have lobster, as their name suggests. There is an entire “All You Can Eat” menu, including Prime Rib and Alaskan Crab, and then there is one of my favorite dishes, a Fine Kettle of Fish, which includes a 1 lb. Whole Maine Lobster, Snow Crab, Clams, Mussels, & Corn on the cob.
I have never left the place hungry. Upstairs, there is an open air patio with a bar area that has swings as chairs for seating.
See the swings under the tiki bar on the right?
Father’s Day is this Sunday, and as my dad is getting older, he is becoming less likely to be willing to make the hike for dinner an hour away. To me, he will always be young enough to race me on our old side yard or to hold my bike while I take those first few pedals. It is getting more difficult now to watch him age, and I often wonder what I will do when he isn’t around anymore. He is the person I turn to when it seems that no one understands. He is the person who is always there to listen. My dad always knows the right thing to say to cheer me up, and there has never been one of his sandwiches or plates of cheesy scrambled eggs that hasn’t made me feel better and more comforted.
I am not yet sure what we will do this year for Father’s Day, but I am certain to cherish each moment that he and I will be spending together.
Happy Father’s Day to you (if you’re a dad), and Happy Father’s Day to your dad, too!