💛 A Father’s Day post written after Father’s Day (and posted way after Father’s Day)

tie fighter pilot airplane june 24 posting san jose airport

I keep a foot in happy and sad each Father’s Day.

The happy is easy: I have three wonderful daughters who enrich my life beyond measure. I also miss my dad. He died of leukemia three months before Hayden was born. This Father’s Day I again considered visiting his grave.

It’s in a beautiful spot, just under a mimosa tree that since has grown incredibly.

But it’s not where he is. It’s not where I feel him. I felt him so much more in the years just after his death. I’ve written about things I can’t explain. I feel as if my dad had to expend a lot of cosmic energy after death just to keep me from self-destructing.

Now, dad is part of me, my sister, her kids, and mine.

This Father’s Day, my hope was simple: Bake a stack of Totino’s pizzas and watch all of the Die Hard movies with the girls I love. I didn’t want much. I also didn’t make it to dad’s grave. I thought of bringing Camdyn. But, he’s not there.

madison camdyn silly fall love home
Madison and Camdyn clowning. Not sure where they get it from.

Stealers and shifting plans

We settled in for the USWNT match before we got to hear the deluge of Bruce Willis F-words. That’s when the text came in from Madison. Someone had stolen a bunch of stuff from her car while they shopped in Academy Sports.

Along with golf clubs, Bluetooth speakers (from Five Below, so no huge blow), and charging cords, they’d also snagged her boyfriend’s car keys.

Which had their apartment keys. Could you go to the apartment, dad, Madison was asking, and make sure no one steals Sutton’s car? Or, gets in the apartment. They couldn’t remember if there was any mail in the car the thieves could find an address with.

Unshowered, unlunched and unready for anything other than recliner time, I reported to duty.

If you’ve ever read a word here you likely know that Totino’s pizza has become hallowed. It’s $1.39 for a frozen chunk the shape of my home state. But the girls and I have found a diamond in the rough in this stuff. It’s our most comforting comfort food.

I’m not writing this to laud myself as a good daddy.

I wanted to remain unshowered, unready for anything other than recliner time, and unequivocally, and crunchy-crust lunched. But a kid of mine in need kind of activates that Yippee Kiyay, motherf*cker instinct, too. Who knows it would be more powerful?

madison hayden beach back in the day
Madison and Hayden at the beach, back in the day.

Dad’s learning curve

I learned a lot this Father’s Day.

I learned that it’s beneficial to not act like a hungry bear even if you are one. I learned that a daughter with the expense of a new lock, new cheap Bluetooth speakers and a new car key for a boyfriend’s VW still won’t let you pay for her new lock.

But you do anyway (because she’s going to bring you a Big Mac, too.)

I learned that to have to serve as the dad on Father’s Day is kind of the best kind of way to spend a Father’s Day.

I mean, it wasn’t Middle-aged Man Moving Minimally Day. Even though Camdyn forgot to send USWNT updates (they won 3-0) and the Rockies lost 14-13 that day, and I didn’t get my Totino’s, I won in huge, significant ways.

I got to be a dad for Father’s Day.

I also got a Star Wars shirt and puzzle, A Broncos shirt, a bottle of tequila and an awesome drawing of me and my three rapscallions. And a delicious dinner we didn’t even have to bake. Mostly, I got plenty of time with the girls who made the day necessary.

I can put both feet (up in my recliner, even) into that happy spot.

Jakes quote fathers day


  1. I am very sorry to hear about your dad. My dad to is gone. Im pretty sure he hangs out in my kitchen with me when Im cooking. Makes me add extra garlic and convinces me to stray from the recipes. He loved to cook, I loved cooking with him. Sometimes it feels likes we still are! On another note, you are an amazing Dad and I know the girls are beyond thankful and happy they landed you as theirs! Hope you got a chance to fit in that Totinos. They are a weakness of mine no doubt! Happy Late Fathers Day!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Kim. We’re our dads’ legacies, though. I love that he’s there in the kitchen. I wonder if mine is there when I watch my girls play.

      I could see that your dad would want to keep cooking with you, encouraging you to take chances in the kitchen and in life.

      Thank you for the kind words, also. I had the Totino’s today!

  2. There’s nothing like the joy of being a parent, even when we have to skip the recliner time.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      The recliner will always be there later!

  3. I can’t think of a better gift for Father’s Day than to *actually* get to be a dad. I’m glad your girls gave you that gift.

    No matter how good Totino’s pizzas can be, they’ll always be second fiddle to those girls – and rightfully so.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      To whine about it would be pretty contradictory, wouldn’t it? Like angry meditation.

      The best of both worlds: Sharing Totino’s with the girls. They love them, too.

  4. San says:

    I love that you remembered your father on Father’s day (I miss mine!) but that you also got to be the Dad that you love to be…. best of two worlds ❤

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Yes, best of both worlds, San – and I have a feeling your dad was near you on the day, too.

  5. Lindsay says:

    I’m also sorry to hear about your dad – Father’s day is mixed emotions for me, it’ll always be a reminder of what I never had and I hate that because I feel like I was robbed. That’s one reason why I tell people to savor and appreciate what they have, because once that’s gone, you never ever get it back.
    I love that you were able to spend the day with your girls that you love so much, I know it must be hard, too…… *big hugs*

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I know a little about your story, Linds, and I’m sorry. I miss my dad and I take a lot of pride in feeling his legacy through my girls.

      Thanks for the hugs, love. Spending time with these girls is the best.

  6. my30somethingadventures.wordpress.com/ says:

    I’m really sorry about your Dad – losing him must have been so difficult and it must make Father’s Day an occasion that is filled with different emotions.
    Sorry Madison had a rough day but you must have made it so much better by helping out.
    Glad you got to enjoy the rest of the day and sounds like you got some lovely presents.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It was the most permanent thing in my life, ever, Anthea. All angst aside, we had a pretty good Father’s Day – I hated seeing her in a bad spot but glad we worked together and got it fixed. It was a very good day.

  7. Despite the unexpected “adventures” it sounds like a perfect Father’s Day. Well done!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It really was quite stellar! Thanks.

  8. I thought I commented on this one maybe I just thought I did. I think you must carry action figures around with you for photo ops. I love how they pop up in your posts. Sweet photos of your playful girls. I think you are a great dad Eli 💜

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Glad you’re here now, Mick! I actually do carry a stormtrooper figure everywhere I go. I took one just today at lunch in a Mexican restaurant!

      Do you know the story behind them?

      Thank you for your sweet words!

      1. Ha you know my nephew carries his too so I was wondering about them, I don’t believe I do know the story. I think they are interesting and catch my attention just to see what they mean to you. I’d like to know the story. 😉

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        I am a grown man, yes! haha. I’ll email you the story. I tried to find the post and couldn’t (to explain the stormtroopers).

      3. I look forward to you story Eli 😊

  9. I’m sorry about your dad, Eli. It sounds like he was a wonderful role model for you in how you parent now. I’m glad you got to be with family on Father’s day. Also, any Star Wars gift is definitely a bonus!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Lecy. I feel like he’s still an influence on me – and he would have loved to have known these girls. Father’s Day was the best just for being with my family.

      I can count on Star Wars gifts!

  10. ladystubbington says:

    Amen to that. You totally claimed your dad’s shoes and I’m sure he’d be super proud of you too 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thank you! I hope he would be. He never really got to see me be daddy!

  11. Hi Eli,
    Beautiful girls! I am sure you are their hero!
    I am sorry your father is gone, but I am sure he lives forever in your heart and memories.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thank you so much! I don’t know about hero status – there’s a lot of good heroes out there, like Thor and Tina Fey.

      I feel like we are my father’s legacies, and we love that.

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