Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day!

Top L to R: Dean Oggel, Hayley & James Oggel, Greg & Baby Devin O'Connor
Center L to R: Hubert Bero, Devin, Greg O'Connor
Bottom L to R: Devin & Bump, Hayley & Tom Burke, Robert Jenkins

Ah Father's Day. 

I remember thinking as a little girl that this day was a very special day, and whatever I would do for my father should be thought about deeply and with great care and intention (though in the end the gift often end up being golf related). I really wanted to impress upon my Dad how important he was to me and I felt that this was the day in which I was meant to do that. I guess, in some ways, I still feel this way today. 

So Dad, Since I neglected to get you any golf related gifts this year, and I can't give you a big hug in person, this post is dedicated to you.

My Dad

My Dad is famous. I don't know if you know this, but I do. And growing up in a small Iowa town of 100,000 people where he was the only Allergist, you might have thought so too. I can't even begin to count how many people, friends and complete strangers, upon finding out I was an Oggel exclaimed, "Your Dad is my Allergist! He's made my life so much better!" 

Granted my Dad wasn't an ER doctor, greeting incoming traumas and saving lives on a daily basis. But what he did do, day in and day out for decades, was treat people suffering from allergies or asthma, and by doing so increased someone's quality of life, making their lives better, and in some cases livable. Diagnosing food allergies, helping people understand what in their homes was making them so sick they couldn't breathe, or administering allergy shots so you were able to keep that little white dog who had become an integral part of your family. This is what my Dad did. This is why in my eyes, he was famous. 

And when he wasn't at the office in our home town, he was driving long distances on snowy 2-lane highways with a Suburban full of allergy extract in coolers to hold a clinic in another tiny Iowa town to help even more people. Impressive? I think so. 

Of course there is so much more to my Dad than who he was professionally. I have many fond memories of spending time with my Dad at home or around town. Just to name a few:
  • Golfing or hitting practice balls at the Sioux City Country Club.
  • Getting frozen yogurt from TCBY on a warm summer night with the sunroof open and the windows down.
  • Watching as you drilled a hole into a coconut brought back from Hawaii in the garage workshop.
  • Grilling out on the back patio.   
  • Going for walks through our neighborhood, having long talks about friends, school and family.
  • Driving to Kansas City or St.Cloud listening to Garrison Keillor or the Oak Ridge Boys.
  • Holding your hand on my first airplane ride because I was so scared during take off.
  • Visiting so many foreign and beautiful lands . . . Spain, Morocco, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Croatia...
  • Watching comedians on television and laughing so hard tears would stream down our faces.
  • Dancing with you on my wedding day.

I'm so incredibly lucky to still have my Dad in my life, though he is far too far away. I am looking forward to sharing new experiences with him, most importantly of all parenthood/grandparenthood. Come September I'll be introducing him to the 1st Oggel grandchild on this side of the family. What an honor and a blessing. I can't wait for that day, and I can't wait for my child to know and love him the way I do.

Dad - I love you so incredibly much. Thank you for being the best Dad a little girl and a grown woman could ever have asked for. XOXO

My W.S.F - Tommy

As if my own Dad wasn't enough, when I was around 16 years old another father-figure entered my life and has been there for me these past 20 years (20 years!!). Thomas Mehan Burke, a.k.a. Tommy. I knew of Tom Burke for years before I ever really "knew" him. He and his family lived not too far from my own, and his two boys, Jeff and Jon, attended the same schools that I did, though they were older than me. I used to see Tom when he was out walking the neighborhood and he always waved hello to me and my friends with a big smile and a cheerful greeting. 

A few years after really getting to know Tom (and realizing that he not only had a heart of gold, but also a great sense of humor) he officially became my W.S.F. "Wicked Step-Father", a title he gave himself, I might add. Tommy has been there for me through thick and thin, loving me no differently than he loves his own two boys. I have many happy memories of Tom over these past 20 years and to name a few: 
  • Launching water-ballons from the deck of the cabin in Yankton onto unsuspecting boaters down below.
  • Taking my first motorcycle ride on a Harley Davidson through the streets of Sioux City. 
  • Driving me to the University of AZ only to fly me home a semester later because I disliked AZ so much.
  • Teasing me after getting my wisdom teeth removed as I sat drooling in his and Mom's bed bleary eyed with painkillers and cheeks swollen up like a chipmunk.
  • Making our own blend of wine on a trip to Sonoma, California.
  • Watching him do a backflip off a mini-trampoline into Bow Mar lake (in 2014 when he was 70 years old!)
  • Summiting our first mountain together in Jackson, WY and later that week jumping off a mountain to go paragliding. (again, at 70 years old!)
  • Sitting quietly on the sofa on Christmas Eve with a big smile on his face and tears in his eyes as the rest of my Mom's family were jumping and screaming with joy at the announcement of my pregnancy.
I can't wait for my kiddo to meet their W.S.G.F. this summer. 
Tommy - I love you so much and am eternally grateful to have you in my life. 


Greg O'Connor, my Father-in-Law = Hands down, one of the coolest Dads I know.
I can't even begin to list the many things I love about my Father-In-Law (but I'm going to try anyway):
  • His creative and innovative mind.
  • His generous and compassionate heart.
  • His wicked-smart brain from engineering, to patent-law, to home-improvement projects.
  • The way he loves his family.
  • The way he loves his sons.
  • The father he his to Devin and to myself.
If you haven't met Greg, then you're missing out. (I know many of you reading this blog have no reason to meet him, and if you went out of your way to do so it might seem awkward, but believe me, once you'd met him, you'd thank me and all awkwardness would disappear).

Greg - I am so excited for you to meet your first grandchild and am even more excited at the thought of all the things you will do together with one another in the workshop, at the "cabin" and in life. Thank you for being a father to me and to raising such an amazing, wonderful son.


Oh man do I love my Grandfathers. And oh boy do I miss them something terrible.
I was lucky to truly know and love both of my Grandfathers, Dean Oggel and Robert Jenkins, fondly known as "Grandpa Dean" and "Grandpa Bob". Both of them such loving people, with a great senses of humor and kind eyes. Both of them could whistle loudly, with vibrato and on pitch. Both loved teasing me to no end. Both loved eating salted nuts. And both had gigantic recliners in which they would sleep and snore in the middle of the afternoon. 

I never saw my Grandpa Dean in anything but trousers and a button down shirt, and I don't know if I ever saw my Grandpa Bob wearing a suit or a tie. If I try, I can still hear their voices, the sound of their laughter, and see the shape of their hands and nails. 

But I don't have to try to remember what it was like to be hugged by them, to be pushed on a swing-set, or to hear their voices singing songs as they putter around their homes. Those memories are very much alive inside me even today.

And in 2012 I was adopted by another Grandfather, Hubert Bero, Devin's maternal Grandpa.
Hubert is an amazing man, who I feel so lucky and blessed to know. Last summer I was even home to help him celebrate his 90th birthday. I've yet to meet a person with a mind and memory as sharp as Hubert's. He is generous, and kind, quick to laugh, and full of the best stories. I cannot wait for Hubert to meet his first great-grandchild! 

Hubert - We hope to bring the baby home to meet you not too long after Christmas, so get ready to hold your great-grandchild!

Devin - My Baby Daddy

And last, but most certainly not least, Devin.
In my mind, today is your first official Father's Day. Granted our baby isn't exactly out of the womb yet, but regardless, you're already a father to our child. I see and experience this in the way you care for me each day. From all the hugs and kisses you give me, to helping me get out of the couch or off the ground. I see it in the way you work so hard at your job to not only be successful at what you do, but to provide for us as a family now and in the future. I see it in the way you research strollers and carseats, and in the way you are already planning to experience life with our child, planning kid-friendly trips, taking it for hikes in your mind, and when you say to my ever-growing belly, "Come out here baby and come play with me!". 

I am so impressed by you as a person, as a husband, as a scientist and now as a father. I am so thankful to have you in my life, and don't know what I'd do without you. I can't wait to see you corn-dog our kiddo in the woods, throw them around in the water and talk in funny voices. 

Thank you for being exactly who you are. 
I hope you liked the cinnamon rolls I made you, and all the funky plaid clothing I bought you.
Happy Father's Day Devo. XOXO

Related? I think so. Devin & Baby Pinecone, Greg and Baby Devin

And a heartfelt Happy Father's Day to ALL the Dad's out there! 
(I'm looking at you Chris Oggel, Kris Byam, & Justin Miera)