Around the holidays, my mom would usually have several important conference calls with Santa scheduled. While Mom was busy talking to the big guy, my sister and I would get some quality Dad time. On those nights where it was just the three of us, we’d head to one of our favorite restaurants (Chik-Fil-A or the ultra-garlicky Fazoli’s was often the top choice, much to my mom’s chagrin), take our food to Dad’s office, pop in a VHS from my Dad’s collection, and have a movie party together. Comedies were always our favorites; I can’t count the number of times we watched The Princess Bride, Space Jam, or Men In Black. The go-to classic, however, was A Goofy Movie. My Dad, sister, and I watched it countless times, Dad belly-laughing right along with us at “the leaning tower of cheez-a” and Lester’s Possum Park.

Our tradition continued well past the time my sister and I realized the truth about Santa, with the three of us going to new restaurants (we went through a big Five Guys phase, which my mom far preferred to Fazoli’s) and seeing movies in the theater. As I got a little bit older, Dad and I started watching action movies together, which led to him ever-so-patiently taking my sister and I to see multiple Transformers films (most of which I wanted to see because of my then-mega-crush, Shia LeBeouf). Superhero movies were then added to the roster on our movie night viewing, starting with my Dad’s favorite hero, Captain America: The First Avenger.  Now, as an adult, Dad and I swap movie recommendations (his most recent suggestion was The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) , and still watch them together just like we did when I was little.

Those movie nights with Dad not only cemented my lifetime love of film, but allowed me to cultivate some of my Dad’s best traits. My silly, witty, pun-filled, and sometimes cringe-inducingly corny sense of humor is directly inherited from my Dad—as a tween, we’d repeat the lines from goofy films like Austin Powers or Zoolander back to each other, cracking up as we quoted our favorite scenes. My dad, a devout consumer of mysteries and spy films, is the one who taught me the endless value of thinking critically about information being presented. And just like his preferred Avenger, he showed me how to be a loyal, compassionate person that does the brave thing, even when it’s not easy. Most of all, like Goofy does for Max in A Goofy Movie, he continues to show how much he loves his children, and how lucky we are to have him as our dad.

 

Featured Image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures