Yesterday I surprised my dad with the news that he won the Grandparent of the Year award at the annual Polk County Family Week kickoff party. I have attended this community event every year for a while now and thought he should be recognized for all he has done for my family. At the event I was only allowed to read a watered-down version of my nomination essay because they required that it be 150 words or less. Which basically means I had time to say, "Gee, my dad is swell" and smile. It really failed to capture the awesomeness of the original essay, so here is the director's cut:
I would love to nominate my father, Mike Bingham, for Grandparent of the Year. There is a saying that great dads get promoted to Grandpa. This could not be more true of my dad. He was and still is a wonderful dad, but he is an absolutely stellar grandpa. If you could think of every great quality a grandpa should have, he has it. He is fun and energetic. He plays all kinds of games, from Uno to Frisbee and even "hide the car" twenty times in a row if necessary. He takes my kids to garage sales on Saturday morning and lets them buy whatever they want with his quarters and dimes. He purposely collects junk mail so my kids can each take turns running it through the shredder in his office because they think its the funnest thing ever. For the past four years he has sent my children postcards in the mail every single week, just so they can experience actually getting mail (even though he lives three miles away). He will dig for shells at the beach for hours on end and pick up anything he finds, sight unseen. He goes camping and builds forts. He flips omelettes three feet in the air and is really good at making things with play-doh. He attends all the activities of my children, whether it be soccer at 8 in the morning all the way across town or softball at 8 at night at the ballpark. And he always has money for the snack bar :) He is the kind of grandparent that stops at the lemonade stands of little kids and buys five glasses just because it would make their day. He buys overpriced wrapping paper and cookie dough for school fundraisers. He is very generous, patient, hard working and always sets a good example of service for my children. I hit the jackpot by having him as my father and the legacy continues for my own children who are lucky enough to have him as their grandpa.