My Dad and I were always friends. Some of my first memories are of he and I playing silly childhood games together. He had such patience as children can play the same games over and over and never get bored . . . he never seemed to mind.
When I got a little older, I remember him often taking me to the gas station to fill up his work van with gas (he was a carpet cleaner so he often had to fill the tank at the end of the day so he was prepared for the next work day). As a small child, I loved going for the treat he'd buy for me (I usually chose gum), but as a teenager I went because I loved the conversations we would have. He would listen to me and my ridiculous opinions -- sometimes he would smile, sometimes he would agree, and sometimes he would share his own insight. No matter what, he would never laugh or scoff at my foolish teenage babbling. I was safe to tell him anything and everything. He would always try to understand; he never once made me feel young and dumb which I am sure I often was.
The strong and trusting parent and child relationship I had with my Dad started very young. Although I get busy, I try to remember how my Dad treated me and took time for me. I always want to be there for my kids like he was there for me. He gave me such a great example of parenting. He may have just been filling up his gas tank, but to me it was so much more than that.
Now I am twenty-six and I am sure that if my Dad were still on earth, I would be just as excited to go on rides to the gas station with him (probably more excited). I sure do miss sharing my thoughts with him and listening to his wise advice . . . but most of all, I sure do miss my friend.