Happy father’s day to all of you dads out there! I want to give a special Father’s Day message to my dad today. I especially want to send a big thank you to all the dads of daughters out there who power through dance recitals, first dates, first heart breaks, and all the other madness that comes with a baby girl.
I can honestly tell you dads that looking back now, as a married woman, those probably awkward situations for you, are some of my favorite times with my Dad. I especially appreciated all the take-your-daughter-to-work days and the many Daddy Daughter dances we attended together. Getting some one on one time with my dad away from my brothers and the constant inundation of sports talk was always rare, so I really loved these days.
My dad worked in the middle of downtown, Chicago. I would get dressed up, my mom would do my hair really fancy-like, and we would take the train into the city together. I would color on the dry-erase board, stock up on office supplies, and kind of pester my dad until lunch time. During lunch we would head to a restaurant of my choice. My favorites were the Bennigan’s across from the Art Institute, the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. in Navy Pier, or the Houlihan’s right by Hammacher Schlemmer. I felt so special on those days, holding my dad’s hand and walking through the big city like we owned it just for that day.
When my school had a daddy daughter dance, we went all out! Some of the girls and their fathers would get together and go out for a fancy dinner before that dance. Some people even rented limos. I am happy to say we were never those people. My dad would buy me a wrist corsage, we would take pictures at the dance, and then I would roll my eyes at my dad’s loud laughter and crazy leg style of dancing as we boogied the night away. My dad and I went to Daddy Daughter dances together from grade school all the way through high school.
My favorite memory out of all the dances we went to was probably in fourth grade. We walked into the school basement only to see that my crush’s Boy Scout troop was doing coat check. I could feel my face getting red as my dad and I talked with him and passed our coats over.
As we walked away into the dance, my dad probably knew something was up, because he asked, “Who was that?”
“Daaaaaddddd!” I groaned.
The dance was going great. We were having a lot of fun as per usual. Then, all of a sudden, the entire Boy Scout troop was in the Daddy Daughter Dance pushing my crush towards me! As if it was planned, Frank Sinatra’s Summer Wind started to play. My crush asked my dad if he could dance with me. My dad stepped back and let me dance with him.
After the song was over he went back to working the coat check and me and my dad danced the rest of the night away. My dad didn’t any questions about the mystery boy during the car ride home. Looking back now, I think I know why.
My dad stood back and let me grow up right in front of him. I am sure his heart was breaking watching some other guy step in, especially in the middle of a Daddy Daughter Dance. But, it is years later and, even though I am now married, my dad is still my number one guy!
Through it all, Dad, you have always been there for me. You give me a dose of reality when I don’t want to hear it, you spar with me sarcastically without taking it personally (most of the time), and you and mom have always been my number one cheerleaders! Thanks for being you, love you!
Ingredients (Serves 2 to 3 as an Entrée, 4 as an Appetizer)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/3 Cup Diced White Onion
2 Cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
16 Ounces Canned Diced Tomatoes and Liquid
1 Teaspoon Salt
½ Teaspoon Pepper
1 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
2 lb. Mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium low heat for a minute or two. Add the diced onion and cook for five to seven minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for two more minutes.
Turn the heat down to low and add the can of diced tomatoes along with the salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Cover skillet with a lid and simmer for fifteen minutes.
Add the mussels to the skillet and then cover with a lid. Steam the mussels in the sauce until all the mussels open up, about ten to fifteen minutes. Before serving, discard any mussels that did not open.
Serve the mussels in a big bowl with some big hunks of bread or over a bed of some nice pasta.
This is the perfect meal for my dad, and hopefully yours, for father’s day!