Exposing him to his fans

By Mir
January 14, 2008

Regular readers of this site have developed quite an affection for my father, who often leaves comments so funny that he totally upstages me. Even now, he’s still badgering me about that damn pony, and my suggestion that adding “clean up pony poop in the yard” to his to-do list would be less than thrilling will not dissuade him from the notion that HE DESERVES A PRIZE. And you know, he probably does.

So here we go, people. Today is your day to love on my dad. I’m going to tell you some important things about him, starting with the fact that today is his birthday.

(And no, I STILL haven’t bought him a pony, because I am a rotten, rotten daughter.) (However, I have it on good authority that having produced children is more or less a “get out of jail free” or—more accurately—“have your past sins forgiven by your longsuffering parents” card.)

The first thing you need to know about my father is that I got my love of babies and children from him. Some people—and lots of men—are unmoved by kids. Dad is one of those people who cannot walk past a baby without cracking a smile or making a silly face. The corollary, of course, is that we kids were the light of his life, no matter how obnoxious we were. When my children are putting on their umpteenth “show” they want me to come watch, and I really want to go finish up my work or do the dishes or whatever instead, I remember that no matter how many times I demanded “Daddy! Daddy! Watch me!” he always did.

(And I don’t know if you can extrapolate this from reading me here, or anything, but I said “WATCH ME!” an awful lot. Go figure.)

My father drove me to activities and came to every talent show and play and orchestra concert I was ever in—coming to every single performance, even when I was in the chorus of “My Fair Lady” and we did something like six shows and topped out at a run time over three hours. He supported anything I said I wanted to try or do, including my brief and disastrous stint in Little League (it’s hard to be a baseball star when you’re afraid of the ball) and my short career as a saxophonist.

My dad is the kind of guy who taught himself how to braid hair in the 70s because he was the one who got us off to school in the morning and I wanted braids like Laura Ingalls’. He’s the kind of guy who would make up imaginary characters and pretend to be them in the car, sometimes staying in character as I plied him with questions (“You’re from Mars? What’s it like there? What do you eat? Where’s your space ship?”) for as much as an hour. He’s the kind of guy who regularly drove 3 hours round-trip to let me spend the weekend with a friend of mine from camp, dropping me on Friday and returning on Sunday.

I’m not saying my father was perfect. He has his flaws, just like everyone else. One morning when I was 8 I told him that my stomach hurt and he snapped at me to stop whining and hurry up or I’d miss the bus. I got to school, walked up the staircase to the second floor, and on the next-to-top step barfed everywhere.

During one of our (many) runs in family counseling, I had some sessions with a counselor who felt the need to probe a little deeper into the seeming polarity of my relationships with my parents. “You never seem to get mad at your father,” she pointed out. “Why is that?” She spent about a month pointing out that although my mother did things that made me angry, my father DIDN’T do things that SHOULD be making me angry (according to her). As a result I spent much of my 16th year positively furious with him. And in the middle of it, he had a major heart attack.

I didn’t believe in God, back then. If I had, I’m sure I would’ve thought God was punishing me for being mean to him.

As it was, I felt a tremendous amount of guilt. And confusion. And fear. Our precarious little family structure buckled under the additional strain. Dad ended up having a triple bypass (back when they still pretty much had to pry you open with a crowbar and put you back together with a staple gun, as opposed to nowadays when I suspect they can do the entire thing laparoscopically and send you home the next day) and a long, hard recovery. Our home may not have been the ideal place to recuperate from such a trauma, but he managed. No thanks to me, I might add.

I went off to college. I came home after a semester with bigger problems than ever. Dad didn’t know what to say to me or how to act around me, and so he settled for awkward pats and stilted jokes and a few kind words, all of which I probably endured with the all the grace of a rhinoceros in a kiddie pool. But the message was always the same as it had ever been: He always loved me. Always had. Always would.

I went off to college again. He’d “just happen” to be in town on business on a regular basis. He’d “just happen” to be free for lunch, or dinner. Slowly I found myself looking forward to these outings again; enjoying being my father’s daughter again, able to let go of the anger and the guilt and all the rest of the what-ifs. We built a new relationship, at first tacitly agreeing to overlook anything unpleasant that may have come before, and later having real discussions about it.

Shortly before I got engaged the first time, my parents announced that they were getting divorced. I was astounded at how angry I was—not because they were divorcing, but because they’d waited so long. My father was… well, let’s just say I still refer to that time period as his mid-life crisis. I was introduced to a girlfriend who resembled a Barbie doll. I spent a lot of time shaking my head and biting my tongue. Thankfully, things settled down after a while. (Come to think of it, it may be my stepmom who deserves the pony….)

Dad has adored his grandchildren, even though they’re just as rotten as I was as a kid. He has played Pretty Pretty Princess with Chickadee and worn the plastic earrings and tiara as directed, never once indicating that he felt anything other than honored to be thusly engaged. He has sat for hours with Monkey, building Lego creations as commanded. He was kind to my first husband, even during and after our divorce, and he has accepted Otto with open arms. And he still always has a joke or two handy.

He has always responded to my various despairing over the complicated state of my life with both a quip (“Hey, if it wasn’t complicated, how would I know it was YOU?”) and a heartfelt, encouraging sentiment (“You’re doing fine, and next week you’ll be better, and the week after that, better still”). He’s always told me he’s my number one fan, and even when I’m a complete jerk that’s always been true. I know he’s not perfect. And he certainly knows I’m not perfect.

After all these years, what I finally learned was that we don’t have to be.

Happy birthday, Dad. I don’t have a pony for you, but what I do have is this: Thank you.


P.S. A blind man walks into a bar. He says… “Ouch!”


  1. Leandra

    How lucky you are. Both of you. Happy Birthday, Mir’s Dad.

  2. Otto

    Thanks, Dad, from the guy who deals with her every day.

    Happily. HAPPILY!!


    PS – Now I’m in trouble …

  3. saucygrrl

    I think I can learn a lot from what you just wrote. I think that’s way better than a pony. ;)

    Happy Birthday Mir’s Dad!

  4. Andrea

    Happy Birthday, Pretty Mir’s Dad! I’m sure you must be one handsome fellow. :)

    Mir, this is was beautifully written. As my dad approaches his 60th birthday in March, I have begun thinking along these same lines of thankfulness and admiration for my father. I only hope that I can express myself as well as you do. Thanks for your inspiration. :)

    “A blind man walks into a bar. He says… “Ouch!”
    My dad is “punny” too. :)

  5. Dawn - Texas

    If only my dad were here for me to say these things to. Enjoy him everyday, Mir! And keep making those memories for your children.

    Happy Birthday, Dad of Mir!

  6. BethR

    Three cheers for Mir’s Dad!

  7. Ladybug Crossing

    Happy birthday Dear Dad of Mir!!

  8. dad

    This post is so..so much better than a pony.

    Can I send it to everyone I know?
    Thank you, thank, thank you.
    I love you.

  9. Heather

    Awww Mir you made me cry, dangit. Happy birthday, Mir’s Dad!

  10. Flea

    Oh Mir, get the guy a pony, fer Pete’s sake!

  11. dad

    And a special Thank You to Otto.

  12. pam

    The love fairly flows from the screen. A moving testament to ‘how to be a good dad’. Thanks from me too Mir’s dad.

  13. birchsprite

    This is Lovely!

    Happy Birthday Mir’s Dad

  14. Rachel May

    Happy Birthday, Mir’s Dad!!!

  15. Amy-Go

    Happy Birthday Mir’s Dad!

  16. Beachgal

    Very sweet. Happy Birthday Mir’s Dad!!!!

  17. Genevieve

    Happy birthday, Mir’s Dad! You sound like a terrific guy, and you raised a great kid.

  18. RuthWells

    Sniff. Nicely done, Mir. Happy b’day, Mir’s Dad!

  19. Ei

    Happy Birthday Mr. Mir’s Dad. But dude, hold out for the pony.

  20. Lynn

    Lucky, lucky you. Now pass the Kleenex!

  21. All Adither

    HBD and many more to come!

    I wonder if it’s easier for daughters to get angry with their mothers. I’ve always done the same thing. She gets the short end of the stick while my dad stands up there on his sparkly pedestal.

  22. prophet

    “a pony walks into Mir’s Dad’s yard and Mir’s Dad says: ‘Why the long face?'”

    Happy birthday dear Mir’s Dad!

  23. Dina

    You gotta love the dads, they are great like that. Happy Birthday to Mir’s Dad!

  24. vkj

    Happy Birthday

  25. Kristi

    Birthday wishes for DAD!

  26. ChristieNY

    Happy Birthday, Mir’s Dad! :)

    Mir, have you hung up that Happily Ever After sign from your honeymoon yet? I think you and Otto should take a trip back there and get one for Dad, too.

  27. The Mom Bomb

    Happy Birthday and congratulations to you both on such an open and loving relationship. It can be a rare thing between father and daughter!

    Had to crack a smile over the by-pass thing: my Dad had a triple by-pass in the 80s, and the way you describe it is pitch-perfect. That is: crack open at chest bone, (literally!)staple back together. Let’s hear it for Lipitor!

  28. Keryn

    Happy birthday, Mrs. Otto’s Dad.

  29. Aimee

    Happy Birthday, Mir’s Dad!

    You know, I have what might be best described as a troubled relationship with my father. You wrote this with such… grace, I think is the word I want. I’m slowly mending fences with my dad, and somehow, reading this helps with that.

  30. Christina

    I have always enjoyed Dad’s comments and now I see why – thank you.

  31. StephLove

    Happy Birthday, Pater Mirae. (Did I get that right? It’s been a LONG time since my three semesters of college Latin.)

    You and your daughter and your grandkids are all lucky to have each other.

  32. Contrary

    Ok, so a pony is out of the question. I get that. Ponies are big and maybe Dad lives in the burbs or something.

    But you can always go get him one of these:


    Looks just like a pony, but is only about the size of an average pony poop!

    Happy Birthday, Mir’s Dad. I think you’re swell.

  33. Weetzie

    I’ve been known to skim quickly thru the comments looking to see if your dad has posted…..he is wonderful! Happy Birthday!! Lovely post Mir! :-)

  34. jennielynn

    Stinkin’ beautiful, Mrs. Otto.

    And Happy Birthday,Mrs. Otto’s Dad. I think I need to go give mine a hug.

  35. Heidi

    You’re off the pony hook, Mir!

    Indeed, your father must be the handsomest man in the kingdom.

  36. Isabel



  37. carrien

    Your story reminds me a lot of my relationship with my dad, at least the 16 year old furious part and the rebuilding. I’m a tad teary.

    Happy birthday Mir’s dad. Thanks to you and dad’s everywhere who continue to be dad’s and be there even when we are angry at you and all full of teenage angst.

    I hope you have a great day.

  38. Crista

    Happy Birthday Mrs. Otto’s Dad!!

    Beautifully written Mrs. Otto. You should have passed out kleenex with that post.

    Have a beautiful day all of you!

  39. Jessica @ A Bushel and a Peck

    And then I cried into my keyboard.

    How very sweet and touching. Happy Birthday Mir’s Dad!!! Now I am off to call my Dad, just to say hi!

  40. Jan


    Happy birthday, Mir’s dad.

    I’d keep angling for the pony, though.

  41. Jamie AZ

    Happy, happy birthday Mir’s dad!

  42. Bob

    yeah, for someone who’s known you for all of his life, he deserves a prize. (ducks)

    Happy Birthday, Mr. Dad.

  43. Leila

    Miriam, what a lovely and touching post. It’s wonderful that the two of you have such a special relationship……but

    Please, please, DON’T GET HIM A PONY!

  44. Nichole

    You’re the sweetest. Happy birthday to your dad!

  45. arduous

    What a sweet post.

    Happy birthday, Mir’s dad!!

  46. Em

    My baby’s birthday is today, so now Mir’s dad has an extra special place in my heart.

    I think the fact that he helped raise a great parent is testament to what a great man he is.

    Happy Birthday Mir’s Dad!

  47. Emily

    Happy birthday, dad of Mir!

  48. Vane

    Lovely post … reminded me of my daddy

    Happy B’day Mir’s dad!!

  49. mama speak

    Happy B-day Mir’s Daddy.

    I have a similar relationship w/my dad, w/out the angest years, just the testy once in while (on my part) w/him acting like everything is fine, even though I’m been an outright beeyoch.

    Pony’s poop too much anyway.

  50. Kelly

    Happy Birthday Mir’s Dad :) Keep bugging her til she gets you a pony !!

  51. RockyCat

    Happy Birthday, Mir’s Dad!

  52. Alison C

    Happy Birthday to Mir’s Dad!

  53. Zuska

    Awwwww, YOU made me cry, then Otto made me laugh, then your dad made me cry again….thanks!

    Happy Birthday, Mir’s Dad!!!

  54. Katie

    Happy Birthday Mir’s Dad!

  55. Cheryl

    I don’t normally comment, but that was so sweet. Happy Birthday, Mir’s Dad!

  56. daisy

    Happy Birthday to dad.

  57. Sheila

    Happy Birthday to your dad. I’m hoping that 30 or so years from now my daughters will have the kind of love for my husband that you have for you dad: warm and wise and richly deserved, with a hearty dose of hilarity thrown in for good measure.

  58. Crisanne

    Happy Birthday, Mir’s Dad!! Hope you have a great one.

  59. Sara

    I’m one of those people who has a crush on your dad based on the comments he leaves. May you both revel in the blessing you have in each other. Many happy returns of the day, Mir’s Dad!

  60. Jenny

    Happy Birthday, Mir’s Dad!!! And many, many more….

  61. Rebecca

    Happy Birthday Mir’s Dad!!! I hope you have a wonderful wonderful day.

  62. bogartg

    Happy Birthday, Dad!

  63. Shalee

    I’d take a post like this over a pony anyday…

    Happiest of days to Mir’s Dad!

  64. crockpot lady

    I am crying. crockpot lady crying.
    happy birthday, mir’s daddy!

  65. dynamitt

    aww that was sweet. I’m crying too. Happy birthday Mir’ dad. Enjoy your day.

  66. Henrietta Manyponies

    Made me teary too!

    Many Many Happy Returns of the Day Mir’s DAD.

    BTW ponies are little and do very little poops, comparatively.

  67. Karate Mom

    Happy birthday to you!
    Happy birthday to you!
    Happy birthday, dear Mir’s Daaaaad!

    Great post! Makes me want to go and hug my dad!

  68. Libby

    What a moving post Mir. I am totally crying at work.

    I also look forward to the comments your dad leaves. He is just too funny and sweet. Happy Birthday Mir’s Dad!

  69. daysgoby

    Happy Birthday, Dad-o-Mir!

    I’ve been a fan for a long time, and I see no reason to change.

    And I hope this is the BEST YEAR YET.

  70. becky

    aw, now i need to go call my dad. *sniff*

    happy birthday, mir’s dad!

  71. Randi

    Happy birthday Mir’s dad –

    and Mir, from a woman who has always wanted her father’s love and attention and has never gotten it, remember to cherish it, though I’m sure you do.

  72. liz

    He sounds an awful lot like my dad, whose birthday was yesterday. Must be those Capricorn fathers. Happy Birthday, Mir’s wonderful Dad!

  73. Carrie

    Happy Birthday, Mir’s Dad!

  74. Adam


    I know I don’t know the whole story behind this, but from what I remember, a chicken would be his first choice! Plus, they don’t poop as much, has to be cheaper to ship, and if it’s bad, well, you know…

    Happy birthday Dad!!!!

  75. Rache

    Happy Birthday Mir’s Dad… great post, but if you really want the pony… :)

  76. Karen (from Our Deer Baby)


    Happy birthay M’s Dad!!!!!!! You share a birthday with my son Erik, which I would blog about, if I hadn’t been running around like crazy all day, and hadn’t cleaned underneath the frigging fridge of all places.

    I will blog about him later, but I want to send happy birthday wishes to you right now!


  77. JennP

    what a beautiful gift to your dad! a wonderful “ode to dad”

    Happy Birthday to your dad! :)

  78. J from Ireland

    Happy Birthday Mir’s Dad, (long time lurker) and LOVE the Dad comments.

  79. Cassie

    Happy Birthday Mir’s Dad!! You sound like an amazing man! I need to call my dad now. :)

  80. Jules

    Happy Birthday Mir’s dad..

    I still respectfully request to be adopted on account I’ve known Mir for many years and still love her ;) And I need a dad.. and Mir needs an older blonder sister..

    Adoption at 38 is quite easy.. AND.. I can score you a pony.. or a baby goat, or 3..and maybe some cows and chickens..I’ll get a pig too if that’ll sweeten the deal.

  81. Kim

    Happy Birthday, Mir’s Dad!!!

    What a sweet post, it makes me want to go hug my dad:o)

  82. Warrior Knitter

    Hippo Birdie birdie Ewe Ewe, Mir’s Dad!

  83. julie

    I thought I was the only one who scrolled comments to see if dad posted;)
    Happy Birthday, Mir’s dad.

  84. Jabberwocky

    Happy Birthday Mir’s Dad!!!!

  85. Half-Past Kissin' Time

    What a gift your dad is, and so wonderful that you know it. My husband is exactly the same way, because his dad was exactly the same way. I’m so happy that your kids have his influence in their lives (in addition to the wonderful Otto, of course!)

    Happy Birthday, POPS!

  86. Judy

    Happy Birthday, “Dad”, from one of the lurkers. Had to come out of lurkdom to wish such a great guy a grand birthday. And…be careful telling her the post was better than a pony. You’ll never get one now. (pssst, Mir, remember the “My Little Ponies”? Get him one of those)

  87. Melinda

    Happy Birthday Mir’s Dad! Hope this is a great year. Thanks to you and your pretty daughter so often bringing a smile to my face.

  88. jen-again

    Happy birthday and Feliz Cumpleanos to Mir’s dad!

    Lovely post, makes me happy that you have those wonderful memories!

  89. Chris

    Happy Birthday to Mir’s Dad….the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
    You are one lucky pair! ;)

  90. D

    Happy Birthday to Mir’s Dad.

    And, just remember, Mir, as my FIL has said to my husband “One day you kids will be picking out my nursing home, but will you be mentioned in my will?” :-) :-)

    Oh yeah …

  91. Kim

    Happy Birthday, Mir’s dad!

  92. Brigitte

    Happy belated birthday!

  93. karen t

    Happy Birthday Mir’s dad! (sorry it’s late)
    That choked me up good and proper Mir.

  94. Cousin Mike

    While it’s always nice to celebrate someone else’s birthday, especially when that person is the much older cousin, it’s also special to hear “…the rest of the story”. Just a side note, while Mir might be leaning towards a pony as the preferred mode of transportation and gift of choice, I might mention that my recollection of Mir’s dad is on a Harley, in his younger college days! Happy Birthday!

  95. Sam

    Have a wonderful birthday Mir’s dad. How lucky you both are to have each other.

  96. kimblahg

    aw now i need to call my dad. what a wonderful tribute to your father. happy birthday mir’s dad- don’t let up on her till she gets you that pony.

  97. Silly Me

    Happy Birthday, Mir’s Dad.

  98. Tootsie

    Happy Birthday Papa Mir!

  99. Nancy R

    I fret if too much time goes by without a comment from Dad.

    Oh! And all the other people he showed it to are chiming in as well! I suspect Step-Mom too. Sweet!

    Happy Birthday, Mir’s Dad!

  100. Kristen

    That was a wonderful post. I’m completely “daddy’s little girl” and wouldn’t have it any other way. :)

    Happy Belated Birthday! :)

  101. Angela

    Wow! That is a lot of well wishes! Oh, and happy birthday!

    Seriously though, you still have that second house hanging around that he could help with, you know just to show he’s an awesome dad, right? ;-)

  102. David

    Great post,Mir. So,if we set an all-time record for comments, does your dad get the pony then? Happy Birthday, Mir’s Dad! And many more!

  103. getsheila

    Happy Birthday MirDad! A day late and a pony short. Hee!

  104. erma

    Happy Birthday to you, Mir’s Dad! The great thing about this blog is not only the blog itself but the comments after, including Dad’s.

  105. Beth

    I’m even later, but happy, happy birthday, Dad of Mir! I’m another one of your fans and very much enjoy your posts. Thanks for raising a pretty cool, funny daughter that we all enjoy!

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