When I was a kid, my dad and I didn't exactly get along that well. Don't get me wrong, we had a lot of fun together. He was always taking me and my siblings camping and fishing, and even though money was kind of tight when I was growing up, my dad would go out of his way to treat us. Whether he did so by providing us with fantastic Christmases, paying for music lessons, or just by bringing me home a Kit Kat bar simply because he knew it was my all time favorite, my dad always put his kids first financially — and in every other way, too. There was never any doubt in my mind that he loved me and I loved him. But it just seemed like, to me anyway, he was constantly doing annoying dad stuff just to get under my skin.
He was always telling me what to do, teaching me things when I'd rather be watching Nickelodeon, and not sugarcoating his opinions about my friends, boyfriends, and retrospectively comical punk phase just to spare my feelings. Pretty normal dad stuff, honestly. Stuff that I'm actually grateful for today.
So, if your dad's "dad" habits have ever driven you to facepalming, but you also love him for doing those facepalm-inducing things, then this list is for you. Here's seven things our dads do that we pretend to hate (and truly did hate as kids) but actually love.
1. When They Tell "Dad" Jokes
More often than not, they're either a play on words, a comment on marriage, or something involving farting. And sometimes, unfortunately, they're all three. Basically, we're talking about a cross between junior high bathroom humor and pun-city. But the "dad" joke comes in many surprising forms, and ultimately, you just know it when you hear it.
I don't know why dads tell the jokes they tell, and I don't know if it's something that just starts happening to them when they become fathers or if it's something they're born with. But the "dad" joke is real, and it's as awkward and silly as it is adorable. I may slow clap or roll my eyes at the end of most of my dad's jokes, but deep down I think they're pretty freaking cute and I hope he never stops telling them.
2. When They Give Their Opinion About Who We’re Dating
While a woman's body and who she decides to date with it is her business and her business alone, fathers are kind of entitled to a certain amount of concern when it comes to who their children are dating. Can that get annoying? Definitely. And has my dad said things like, "I know he must be pretty great or else you wouldn't put up with him." Yup. But do I ultimately appreciate the fact that my dad has told me exactly how he feels about all my boyfriends? Absolutely.
I hope he continues to be honest with me about my love life. Knowing my dad cares enough to look out for me, but also clearly trusts that I'll make the right call with or without his advice, makes me feel both loved and respected.
3. When They Worry About Our Safety
When I moved out of my parent's house four years ago to live in a ground floor apartment in a town twice as big (but still small) as the one I grew up in, I'm pretty sure I got more safety talks from my dad than I had in the 21 previous years of my young life combined. Okay, I'm exaggerating a bit. But I still heard a whole lot of "keep mace with you!" and, "lock your door at all times!" and, "don't go anywhere without your cell phone!" But, even though I think he worried (and still worries) too much about my safety, I'm happy he cares so much. And I can't pretend his safety tips aren't practical.
4. When They Call Us By Embarrassing Nicknames
I'm 25 years old and my dad still sometimes calls me "Fuzzbucket" (a nickname he bestowed upon me as a toddler due to my frizzy, ringlet curls) and, occasionally, "Crankasourous" (a nickname I earned for being excessively grumpy in the morning). But even though these nicknames kind of embarrassed me as a kid, and I still smirk at them now, I sort of love them too. They're cute! And they're mine.
5. When They Push Us To Succeed
My dad, like most dads, always encouraged me to study. It was super annoying at the time, but I ended up receiving multiple college scholarships and grants because of it.
When I started the day job that I'm still currently working, I did a lot of complaining and freaking out to my parents. But no matter how much I whined my dad told me, flat out, that I had to be an adult and give my new job a chance. Although it did hurt my feelings a little bit that he wasn't more sympathetic, looking back, I'm really glad he wasn't. Because I was being a baby, and this job has made a world of difference in both my finances and my overall self-confidence.
6. When They Constantly Nag Us About Car Maintenance
Since I've been of driving age, and especially since I've lived on my own, I don't think I've been able to hang out with (or even talk on the phone with) my dad without him asking me about the state of my tires or how long it's been since my oil's been changed. It can be a little bit of a bummer to be reminded of such incredibly dull, adult stuff all the time, but I secretly appreciate (and often need) the reminders.
7. When They Teach Us How To Do Boring-But-Useful Things
My dad's a pretty traditional guy, but that never stopped him from teaching my sister and I how to do basic, stereotypically "masculine stuff." He taught us how to do our own oil changes, how to fix toilets and vacuum cleaners, how to run a lawn mower, and how to unclog our own drains. It wasn't very fun, but I'm so glad my dad taught us how to depend on ourselves despite our obvious lack of enthusiasm for his subject material. Because I've had to use every one of those skills in my young adult life, and it feels pretty amazing that in most cases I'm capable of being my own handyman.
I love you Dad!