Photo credit Amy Claire family archives

Jerre Lloyd went to the yellow-daisy-wallpapered bedroom every single time his daughters cried out in the middle of the night. He pulled himself out of bed, shuffled across the hallway in his pin-striped, button-down pajamas, and lightly pushed the bedroom door open.

“Yes, girls?”

“Daaaad! We’re scared. We’re thirsty. We had a bad dream [both of us?]. We’re anything but going to bed.”

Jerre Lloyd had been cursed with two loud, hyper, and imaginative daughters.

So he succumbed and stretched out on our bedroom floor and told stories, stories that magically picked up from where they’d left off the night before. Stories with recurring characters and storylines that spanned a decade. Not from any book but from his head.

My dad told us that the sparkling lights across my hometown’s lake were Disneyland. I believed him, and I don’t recall questioning why we didn’t go more often, seeing that it was so close. Those sparkling lights were the power plant that sat along our town’s lake, polluting our water and making white swimsuits turn brown, but Jerre deflected that into the sparkle of the happiest place on Earth. He did that with most everything.
I am a firm believer that if you grow up with a dysfunctional mother yet a magnificent father, then you have, in fact, tipped the scales in the world of fortune.

Photo: Amy Claire family archives

Jerre Lloyd had been cursed with two loud, hyper, and imaginative daughters.

I grew up and managed to do the impossible: I found a man with whom I wanted to breed who also happened to be my person/my lobster/my unicorn. I’m a lucky girl, that I know, but I did kiss approximately 7,402 frogs before I found my prince, so I feel I earned it. Honey, have I got stories.

Upon procreating with this lobster of mine, I realized I’d done something else (equally lucky if not predictable): I’d chosen a father for my baby who’s as magical a father as my own. The patience, the utmost involvement, and the funny stories are all right there. My husband is our primary caregiver. He hasn’t missed a beat. And when I hear over the monitor him reading to our baby, it’s always with an accent. He simply cannot read him a story without being in full character.

Sometimes my dad and I have lived in the same city and sometimes far apart. Once we were even roommates, but that’s a story for another time. No matter, we’ve always been in constant contact.

When I was in college, instead of bedtime stories he wrote me letters. The real kind that he typed up and printed out and put in the mail with various musings about what the house cats were up to or that he was a finalist for the RAID contest for Largest Cockroach Found. Now we email constantly, and I’m lucky my 81-year-old dad knows how to text.

Sometimes I hear my dad’s voice when I talk to my son. Particularly when I call him sweetheart. My dad always calls me “sweetie-heart” and it warms my soul to the brim. I can only hope my kid will have such warm sentiments regarding his mom. My dad wasn’t just my dad. He was my mom, too. He stepped up and took on both roles when my mom was incapable, and it has trickled down into my own relationship with my son. Deep down I know I’m a good mom because my father set the best example.

And that’s why (almost) every year, a month before he gets a Father’s Day card, my dad, the world’s greatest storyteller, gets a Mother’s Day card, too

“My husband is our primary caregiver. He hasn’t missed a beat. And when I hear over the monitor him reading to our baby, it’s always with an accent. He simply cannot read him a story without being in full character.”

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