One time, all four of us kids were at the mall with Daddy, and Becky started to get fussy, so we needed to leave. I guess in an attempt to distract Becky and make the journey faster and a little less unpleasant, he announced that we were going to run through the mall to the car and reassured us it would be fun.
Jesse and I were old enough to be mortified at this idea. We started doing the "no Daddy, no" thing, pleading with him quietly (and while glancing around to see who was watching) not to do it. Dana, however, was easily sold on the joys of running through the mall, so Daddy held Becky in one arm and took Dana's hand with the other and off they went, laughing and running. Jesse and I didn't have to discuss our plan--we pretended we didn't know them and walked slowly back to the car, thoroughly humiliated and mad at Daddy for tainting our mall reputations with such uncoolness.
I love that memory. Doing what's right, being a good parent, and having fun were always more important to Daddy than being cool. I think part of what made him a fun dad was that he didn't really care what people thought. And now I see that it's much more important that your child respect and admire you when they're a mature adult than that they think you're cool when they're a silly, insecure adolescent.
Anyway, happy birthday, Daddy. I wish so much that I could call you today and wish you a happy birthday. I miss you every day.