There are so many things I inherited from my father. My personality is the obvious one, but also the desire to constantly be learning and asking the big philosophical questions; an open mind willing to entertain far out thoughts and beliefs and a need for order, logic and punctuality. We both had minds made for problem solving in a unique way.
Growing up, I was called daddy’s girl and because of his ease of judgement I found myself trying to impress him and gain his attention; mostly subconsciously, but I think it definitely led to my people pleasing tendencies. When I was a kid I saw men in movies and media as the people with the power and women as supporting cast. It made me a tomboy. A tough girl. I wanted the power.
My dad taught me his knowledge of astronomy, giving me the names of stars and constellations. He opened the door for conversations about aliens and government conspiracies, ghosts and the occult. And because he loved horror movies and books, I loved them too. He taught me to play chess and ride a bike and way more things about cars than most girls care to know.
One day, when I was really young, we were in the middle of a tornado warning. My dad, ever fascinated by weather phenomenon, let me stand on the front porch with him, eating saltine crackers with butter. I remember the electricity in the air and the feeling of being fearless. We watched as a twister became visible in the cow fields that bordered our neighborhood. It was thrilling to see the tornado move closer and then we ran inside to seek shelter.
When I was still small he would often work long shifts. I would take one of my books and lie on the floor by the garage door and read until he came home. We also had a ritual in the evenings where my sister and I would pretend we had fallen asleep on the couch watching TV so he would carry us to bed. He called me Pete (Petey Anne Fo Fran) and my sister was Charlie Joe Brown.
I take comfort knowing he is no longer in pain. He finally has the answers to all the mysteries of the universe that so fascinated him all his life. Now he is in the stars.
I think I might miss my father more than anyone.