Memories That Are Gifts From My Dad

From back row right, Michael Margolin our columnist, with his father Don, to his right, and brother Max. Alexa and Jake, Michael’s children who he writes about each month are in front row.

June has become quite an important month for me. I was born in June, and that was just the beginning. Does that qualify as a dad joke? More importantly, Enjoli and I got married in June, it is the particular month we remember my grandmother, and it is also when Father’s Day is. Alexa will turn nine in July, and I will have had nine years of experience being a parent. Jake just turned six, and so I now have a combined 15 years of education.

I suppose the part of me that feels like it’s more education than expertise realizes there is a long way to go. But, since we are all learning together, when we get to the teenage years and the angst, I intend for all of us to be as prepared as possible.

For several years now, Alexa has been old enough so that her experiences are ones she will remember. Maybe not precisely, but she will remember, and Jake will now recall some as well. So I wonder what they will say about me when they get older. I wonder what they will tell people about the things their dad always used to say.

These things cross my mind because I remember things that my dad said when I was younger and how many of them will always make plenty of sense. I do not think I could have been older than ten or 11 and my dad and I were at a mechanic’s. There was a car up on the lift, and its two front wheels were pointed in opposite directions. My dad pointed at the car and looked at me and said, “You ever have a day like that?” Yes, yes I have. When it came to cars and buying certain parts at certain prices, he reminded me that you get what you pay for. Turns out car parts are not all that applies to.

After I was married and had two beautiful children, there was a stretch in which I was struggling with work and finding some career footing. My dad told me that in having an amazing spouse, I had the hardest part of life figured out. I would be able to sort the rest of it out. He was spot-on with that, too.

The first baseball game I went to was when I was nine years old. It was at Dodger Stadium with my dad and my grandfather. Exactly how it should be. It was 1988, and Fernando Valenzuela started for the Dodgers, and Franklin Stubbs hit a grand slam in the bottom of the eighth to break a 3-3 tie. I believe the scoreboard even wished my grandfather a happy birthday.

I hope I am giving my kids the same kind of fond memories my dad gave to me, and still does. I am lucky to have the dad I do, and even luckier to consider him one of my best friends. A very Happy Father’s Day to him and to all of the other great dads out there!

By Michael Margolin

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