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One of the really cool things about being a blogger is getting to press the Pause button from time to time and write one of those meaningful life reflection posts that have nothing to do with sharing new recipes, posting BBQ photos, or looking gorgeous in the dappled forest sunlight. These posts help me slow down and do some of that major appreciation work that really needs to be done more often around here.
As you’ve probably guessed, today’s appreciation post is dedicated to my dad, that tea-rrific guy who, oh yeah, I forgot to write about on Father’s Day this year. Whoops. So okay, I’m totally making up for it here, too. Double agenda, is that really such a bad thing?
There are few things in life that my dad decidedly and dependably loves. Growing up, it was a long and winding road to finding him something that he actually wanted: in recent years, animated films on DVD have become a default choice for special occasions, but the everyday things are still a toughie. For the father of a baking fanatic, he’s definitely the most unenthusiastic sweets eater I know (this fact alone makes me doubt our relationship–birth certificate background check in progress). I’m not even exaggerating when I say that there’s only been one constant all these years (at least as far as I’m aware), and that’s his penchant for iced tea.
When we go out for day trips or extended road trips, my dad will usually be the one to drive while the rest of us knock out in the back seat with our mouths wide open toward the car roof (a less than admirable sleeping trait I acquired from, ahem, somebody parental-like). Every time we stop at a gas station and my dad looks tired from all the driving, though, I’ll run into the convenience store with a dollar and grab him a cold bottle of unsweetened iced tea. It’s my half-sheepish way of acknowledging that yes, I know he must be fatigued–aaaand here’s this iced tea now so I’m going back to sleep, love ya!
I think he understands. After all, what dad doesn’t?
These days, we take fewer road trips and spend more time at home when I go back to visit. It’s hard to explain exactly what my dad does that has made me so much more aware of his important role in my life now that I’m grown up and moved out. Maybe it’s the fact that even though I am grown up and moved out, he treats me just as if I wasn’t–when I’m home, he still asks all same questions, carpools with my mom during the daytime so that I can keep the car, and stays up at night waiting for me without ever pressuring me to come home earlier. He’s ready to make the driest daddy jokes known to mankind, but he’s also ready to give level-headed advice on all of the menial life matters that a 20-some year-old thinks will end the world in fiery apocalypse. If I was him and had to listen to me talk all the time about all the random crap that I bring up on a daily basis, I’d probably implode–but, strangely enough, he never does. Maybe it’s Dad Powers or something.
I guess that brings me back to where I started this post, with the things that I know he does love. I was wrong to say that the phantom list extends only to iced tea, because if there’s one thing my dad cherishes above all else, it’s definitely family. We’ve been the priority all along, even when I haven’t earned it and sometimes when it means giving up other things that are also important to him.
I used to entertain this enormous, glorious vision of what it would mean to show my dad how much I appreciate all he does for us: you know, fabulous Hollywood-style surprise parties and maybe the Beatles brought back to life for a private concert or something.
Of course, unlike me, my dad isn’t big on big-scale celebratory affairs, so none of these ideas have really flown. Instead, lately I’ve been trying to show him in the little, everyday ways. Part of that is calling every day and really devoting my energies to those calls, instead of getting distracted and surfing the web or something while I’m on the phone. Another part is taking the initiative to suggest that we do things I know we’ll both enjoy together, like rewatching a Pixar film or going out to our favorite Chinese restaurant on a weekday. And if I’m home, homemade iced tea is definitely on the menu, too.
I’m sharing a glass of home-brewed iced tea with you today because it reminds me so much of everything for which I have to be thankful. I was really pleased when I learned that Bigelow Tea wanted to share these everyday moments, too. A bit of background about the company: it’s America’s largest family-owned tea company, making it a perfect fit for sharing with my own family, and especially with my dad. Bigelow (which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year) is a 100% American company for the American consumer, and they’ve sent almost 4 million bags of tea have been sent to troops overseas through their Tea for Troops program. I picked up a few boxes from Walmart:
I also really love the variety of Bigelow’s teas–my dad may not love sweetened iced tea the way I do, but he loves every kind of unsweetened iced tea flavor out there. I decided to buy Earl Grey and English Breakfast Tea last time I went home, but you can pick from over 130 varieties of flavored, green, organic, herbal, and decaf teas to brew your iced tea. And because they’re a family-run company, Bigelow’s teas are great quality and super-duper fresh: those individual foil pouches work wonders to keep the teabags fresh time and time again, which is great since I like to bring them with me sometimes when I visit home. BYOTea! Anything for my dad. <3
It’s summer, and no matter for whom you’re making your next tall glass of iced tea, I know you’ll all have a tea-rrific time doing it. In the meantime, let me know in the comments:
What special person in your life deserves your appreciation today?