The Conversation That Defined My Dad (Or, Root Beer)

One day, a long, long time ago, I had a chat with my dad during which he mentioned how much he liked root beer.

“Dad,” I said shocked. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bottle of root beer in this house in my entire life!”

He shrugged.

“Dad, if you love root beer so much, you should drink it. It should be in your refrigerator!”

This is the kind of seemingly insignificant conversation that for reasons unknown I’ve held on to. For decades. That no one remembers but me. At the time of this root beer revelation, I was either in college or graduate school, which meant the world revolved around me and my goals and my dreams. As such, my dad’s self sacrifice of root beer (of all things) was unfathomable to me.   Then again, he always put our needs ahead of his own. Everything he did and does is for one thing – his family.

He’s always supported my ambitions. He drove me to dance classes, sat through marathon dress rehearsals, and brought me to competitions and conferences. He paid for four years of college and two years of graduate school (and a few many months of New York City rent), and I often wondered what he thought of my decision to pursue dance instead of something – anything – more practical, but he let me spread my wings anyway.

All this time later, my dad is just as invested in my life as he was when I was a kid. The only difference now is that he’s also devoted to Mike, Dylan, Riley, and Gertie (and Harry). Twice each year, he still calls to remind me to change the clocks, and I look forward to those calls even though almost all of our clocks change on their own.

If I could describe my dad in one word, it would be this: Selfless.

Every year on Father’s Day, I think about sending him a six-pack of root beer, but I’m not sure if it would make any sense. It’s funny the memories we choose to preserve, and I often wonder which ones Dylan and Riley will hang on to throughout their lives. I just hope that when they’re all grown up and someone asks them to describe me in one word, they’ll say one that reflects the kind of parent my dad has inspired me to become.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.


As proof of my inherited selflessness, I posted this picture even though it accentuates my eye wrinkles. (Selflessness is a journey, not a destination.)

How would you describe your dad in one word?

1 Comment

Filed under family, parenting

One response to “The Conversation That Defined My Dad (Or, Root Beer)

  1. For my Dad…. Thoughtful. 🙂 This was a great tribute to your Dad.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s