As we got into puberty, I think things became harder for my Dad. We had things like periods, and boobs, and hormones. Oh, the hormones. So I think he had a hard time relating, but he tried to teach us what he could about life in his own way. Unfortunately his attempts at teaching us life lessons were often lost on me at the time. "Look out, and see what you can see. You're missing a lot by not looking out the window." What he'd say to us on long car trips, when we were bored, usually picking fights with each other, and couldn't wait to get back home to talk to our best friend or see our latest crush. Other Dad sayings: "Don't pop off!" - what he'd say if we smarted back to him. "Square up!" - if we were slouching at the dinner table. "Any blood coming out? If no one's bleeding, I don't want to hear anything." - what he'd say on car trips if we complained that "so-and-so hit me!"
He coached our church league teams - basketball and softball. I remember being glad that he was coaching them, proud that he was my Dad, and I could tell he really enjoyed it. It was a way for him to relate to us and be a part of our growth as human beings despite us being hormonal teenage girls. He also joined the men's softball league for a few years. He started training to get in shape for it. I remember one night I went outside and he had me race him. And he won. I was pretty quick then, too. I was surprised, and I think he liked that he had surprised me and was also proud of the progress he had made to get in shape. I always enjoyed watching him play. He usually was pitcher, and was always good at strategy, too.
He was a teacher, and in the summer he would mow apartment complexes and clean pools. We often went along to help and would get paid for our efforts.
In the past decade, he's become the photographer/videographer for many family events. I am so grateful for all the time he has put in to compiling videos of everything - all sorts of events over the years that are now on DVDs. It will be nice to have those.
He's older now, so he doesn't do many of the things he used to do. But they still have a garden. The last time I was at my parents' house, I was inside watching him outside checking the garden. Going down the rows, he'd point at each plant as he checked it: "You're ok...you're ok...you're ok...you're ok..." he seemed to be saying to himself as he passed each one, in mannerisms of his I know so well. Although I don't always see eye-to-eye with him on things, I hope he thinks the same thing when he looks at his daughters.