My Dad’s the Greatest Dad

June 11, 2007

by Carrie Ann

Yes, I have actually been in neighborhood arguments where dads were compared and sized up for imaginary fights. Luckily, my dad is tall, above average, so he always had that going for him. Unfortunately, my dad’s translucent skin has not seen UVA or UVB since 1969, so I knew that he would lose all credibility the moment he took his shirt off to fight (because we all knew it would be skin on skin…greaser style).

Being number 3 of 7 you don’t exactly get a lot of one on one time with your parents, especially when you are one of 5 daughters, but any moment I got with dad was gold.

When we were young, my dad would sometimes take us to work on Saturdays. At the time, my dad was a store manager for a large department store. He was very young (33), he had six kids, and had just taken a 3 year “hiatus” to be a mission president in Sweden so he felt that he had a lot to prove to this company that had given him his job back (long story, but really inspiring…). Hence, working 6-day weeks.

I would sit in his office and “do paperwork”. Back then, the store reports were printed out on huge, connected stacks of dot matrix printer paper, the kind with tracks of holes along the sides. My “job” was to carefully remove the tracks. (Child labor or diversionary tactic?)Then, I would take my red pencil (like dad) and “read” the report, circling things that stood out to me (number 5’s…I was five), fancy patterns, and words I could read (“dress”, “outerwear”, intimate apparel”), then I would draw my dog Daisy.

At lunchtime, we would eat at the store’s restaurant (remember when department stores had restaurants?). I could order anything I wanted, which was probably a grilled cheese and french fries, and then I could choose something he would buy for me (yes, my love language is receiving gifts!). We would walk around the store looking at things, and my heart would swell every time someone said, “Good morning, Mr. Oscarson”, and he would return the greeting, he knew everyone’s name! Then he would introduce me and I felt like the most important person in the world.

The point is, the man tried.

We didn’t see our dad much while growing up (or still). He always worked 6 days a week and then would either be the Bishop or the Stake President a few evenings a week including all day Sunday. But we never questioned his devotion to us. It was very clear that there was not where else he’d rather be than with us. The long hours were a result of the competitive nature of his career, but he never put his career before our well-being. Growing up we never knew about the many job offers that came his way that were rejected (even one in London and one from a very young “the Gap”) even though they were incredible career moves because they would not have been in the kids’ best interests. It was never about him. It still isn’t.

Dads make their own set of sacrifices. I know that my dad has sacrificed time, pride, and the praise and esteem of men for us. He has had nightmare bosses and has suffered many small and large humiliations to keep food on our table. Even now, nothing gives him more pleasure than to spend time together as a family or to help us out in times of need (much to my adult embarrassment).

So even though his skin is blue-veined white from decades of wearing a suit, my dad’s the greatest dad, and he could still probably whip your dad.

Happy Father’s Day!


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