Once again, I get to enjoy having an excuse to share about people that I love. Today isn't actually Father's Day in Thailand, they celebrate it on December 5th, the King's Birthday, but I thought since both of my fathers are in America, we could still celebrate Father's day the American way!
Can I start with the Dad that I've known for the least amount of time? It's funny to think of how different Dad Hillman is from my own Dad, yet they are both so exceptional. One memory I have of Dad Hillman is from before Jeff and I were married. We came home from Ricks for Christmas break, and for some reason ended up both staying at the Hillman's home the night before Christmas Eve (of course, down the hallway from each other, because the wedding wasn't for 5 more days!). I hadn't been feeling well, yet we couldn't pinpoint what it was, so I took some pain killers and we all went to bed. I was in so much pain that night that I couldn't even lay down. After a few hours, I finally went and got Jeff up. Neither of us knowing what to do (we were young and dumb, adjectives I still use to describe us some days), we woke Dad up. He immediately came down in his robe to evaluate the problem. He and Jeff gave me a blessing which brought some much needed comfort. After much deliberation, we decided to head to the ER to figure this thing out. So, at about 3am, we all headed out to the hospital only to find out I had Pluresy, a very painful infection of the lungs. It was awful, but I remember Dad being there for Jeff and I as we (remember, young and dumb) went through our first physical trial of our relationship. After the hospital, we dropped Jeff off for some reason and Dad and I drove around town trying to find an open pharmacy. It was at that moment that I felt genuine love for him. He'd been up late, only gotten a few hours of sleep, sat in a waiting room all morning, and was now driving around town for someone that wasn't even family yet. I'm sure he had many church meetings that day (yes, this was also a Sunday, not to mention, Christmas Eve and 4 days before the wedding), maybe even had to speak, yet he was doing everything he could to get me what I needed and keep me giggling and happy. I loved him for this. This was above and beyond welcoming me into the family.
6 1/2 years later, Dad continues to love and sacrifice for us. He has taken days off work to help Jeff fix the car, tutored me in my Statistics class, raked thousands of rocks out of our yard, moved us four different times, designed his yard and basement for his grandchildren's enjoyment, told countless of his famous stories to Jack, and been a constant example of love and acceptance. We continue to feel his love in Bangkok as we receive stories he's recorded especially for the kids, IM regularly, and love his silly effects when we visit on skype (always a highlight). Dad is sensitive, honest and hardworking, all traits he has passed onto his children that have made them into who they are now. I couldn't ask for more.
Looking back on my blog so far, I realize I have said very little about my Dad. This surprised me very much because he is, and always has been, a huge part of my life. As far back as I can remember, I have always valued my dad's approval, advice, and support. As a little girl, the worst thing in the world was getting the disapproving look from Dad when I had done something naughty. It didn't happen often because I was a good girl, and my Dad was extremely patient, especially for having three daughters in their teens all at the same time. Wow! How he did that one, I almost hope to never know.
My Dad was always very busy. On top of normal work hours, he had very demanding church callings which pulled him away from home for most of my growing up years on Sundays and Tuesday nights. But, when he was home, he certainly made the best of it, and I like to think I took every opportunity to be with him. I always thought my sisters were crazy if they passed up their turn to go to a BYU ball game with Dad. Who wouldn't want him all to herself? Even if it meant sitting for 4 hours on uncomfortable bleachers, when all you really were enjoying on the field (at that age) was the halftime show. It was worth it. It was also worth it to get up in the wee hours of the morning to go fishing at Payson lakes. Early morning runs (had to be back before 6:30am Scriptures), late night Christmas shopping, delivering things to neighbors, suit shopping, working in the yard, or going to an extra Sacrament meeting to hear him speak. Not things I would have chosen to do for fun, but because it was with Dad, it was great. Looking back, I'm sure there are things Dad did, not because it was something he necessarily enjoyed, but because he loved us. Funny thing is, I can't think of that many because Dad always really seemed genuinely excited to attend every Jr. Jazz game, fiddle contest (which he was also playing his guitar at as well), Young Women's program, concert or violin recital. He was in the audience, always smiling and happy as could be, with plenty of questions and compliments afterward. He loved to be involved in the things we were doing every day. He wanted to know how school went each day, all about our assignments, friends, activities, etc. My sisters and I always felt very comfortable talking about who our latest crush was, if we got to see him that day, etc. (all that silly stuff that means everything to a teenager!). Although, we knew we always needed to word things carefully with Dad, so his protective Father instincts didn't jump to conclusions. Several times, my mom and Sisters would be talking in one room, and Dad would be in another room. Dad, being 100% deaf in one ear, could rarely hear us calling him to answer a question, help with this, or come get the phone, etc. But, the moment we said _________(insert name of latest crush from any or all three daughters), or "kiss", "date", or anything up this ally, he would come running! As uncomfortable as it must have been to hear us talk about these silly boys, he wanted to know the latest news, and I'm sure, who the biggest threat was.
I will never forget the time I came to visit from college, but got in late because I had been out with Jeff for one of the first times. Dad came in to wake me up and wanted to know how my date had gone. I remember having had a perfect evening with Jeff and all I could tell Dad was, "he's so amazing, he's just perfect". I could see the look of fear in his eyes as I described how wonderful this "mystery boy" was. I was so grateful at that point that Dad listened and smiled and acted excited to meet him. I'm sure that's not a fun moment for a Father to hear his baby girl describe someone "perfect" at such a young age, but I think most fear subsided as soon as he met his future son-in-law, who he would now admit really is as wonderful as I described.
Because I love my Dad, I will not tell the "little piece of sheet" story, but just know that when a man is as "straight arrow" (as the Hillmans accurately call him) as my Dad, it's pretty funny when you are reminded that he is also human. One of his favorite things, when the family gets together, is to take everyone out to dinner. I think this is funny (although I'm not complaining), because I know Dad would be just as happy going to RC Willey for their free hotdogs, like we did a LOT growing up. Also, while we are at the restaurant, he will encourage everyone to get drinks, yet he never orders anything but water, his favorite. He loves, like the rest of the family, to find a deal. You will find him every year, day after Thanksgiving, 5am, standing in line somewhere to get something GREAT, for dirt cheap. He's awesome. Something else that might surprise you, he plays/sings a fantastic version of San Francisco Bay Blues, with a pretty mean kazoo. Yes, you read that right, kazoo.
There really is nothing that can replace the relationship between father and daughter. This is THE reason I was initially so excited to have a girl. I wanted Jeff to experience that special relationship too. I look up to my Dad like no one else. He is someone I saw every day who lived what he taught. He was an example of love, service, hard work, dedication, forgiveness, patience, and most of all, integrity. My dad is as honest as they come. He does what is right, no matter the situation. He values what is really important in life. His favorite thing is his family. He loves to be with each one, individually or all together, as crazy as it may be. He loves to sit and play with all the grandkids, read them books, and take them to the park, but I do think that he has a special spot in his heart for the granddaughters. Seeing him with Jane makes me feel like I'm seeing him with me and my sisters as babies. He would hold her forever. He is someone who always has open arms, and he loves to fill them. There's nothing like a big hug from dad when coming home to visit. I treasure the love that I feel for Him. I love visiting with him still, and admit that I get a lump in my throat every time I hear his voice after it's been a little while. I've lost count of my tears tonight from writing this, after not seeing him for almost eight months. It's time to go home. I love you Dad.
I feel like I am constantly talking about Jeff. Even when I'm talking about my Dads, I am talking about how amazing Jeff is. The truth is, it's true. Jeff was my "perfect boy" when we met, and he continues to just keep getting better. How does that happen? When something is this good, I don't like to ask questions. Since Jeff has become a Father, I've seen a whole new side of him. I could go on and on, but I thought if I just gave you a small description of our week, you would get the idea.
Sunday night, I started to get sick. Monday morning, since I hadn't slept all night, I went to the gym and had a great workout (not smart). I came home and crashed for two days. Jeff took two days off work to play Mr. Mom, and he really did. He took care of all of us, especially since Jack couldn't go back to school yet because he still had this mysterious rash. Jeff kept the kids busy with books, looney toons on the computer (which they LOVED), he and Jack built airplanes and car jumps out of cereal boxes, and he took Jane to her swimming lesson. All the while, I hardly knew what was happening, I was so consumed with fever and fatigue. It was heaven to know that everything was taken care of. The kids were well-rested, fed, and having the time of their lives. Jeff held it all together. Even when the kids were asleep, he was taking care of me, getting me my medicine, helping me get comfortable and sleeping with no A/C (a big sacrifice for anyone!). Janie started in with the rash and fever Tuesday, which didn't surprise us at all. What did surprise us was when I started with the rash Wednesday night! Despite the rash, my fever broke Tuesday night, so Jeff was able to go to work Wed-Fri but had to stay late, missing the kids two out of the three nights, which is always disappointing for him. He went for a hard run Saturday morning, yet still spent the day with the kids so I could hit Chatuchak market for some things we needed, something I've been putting off for weeks now. Plus, after being in the house all week (really, we couldn't leave looking the way we did), I was dying to get out! He was exhausted from his run and a day with the kids, but chose to spend his night out visiting with the missionaries. He went above and beyond this week, but that's not really that unusual. That's just Jeff. He's the ultimate husband, and four years ago, he became the ultimate Dad. Some days, I have to pinch myself.
I had the shock of my life at the market on Saturday when I heard a little taste of "home", in the form of a banjo and mandolin. I couldn't stop smiling at these happy Thai men who were playing their little hearts out, and doing a good job of it. I really just wanted to kiss them both for playing such familiar music. I could have stood there all day, but knew I needed to get home. I took this video to prove it to Jeff, I was sure he wouldn't believe me. So, for the men in my life, who all happen to like bluegrass music... enjoy.