Lessons From My Father

I think it would be realistic to say that most people think they have the “best Dad” or “best Mom” in the world. And to whoever makes that claim, for them, that’s probably their truth. For me, I won’t say I have the “best Dad” in the world; that statement is so over used, it’s on key chains, mugs and ties. No, reader, I have the most honorable dad in the world. And what he gave my sister, and me is truly unique and unparalleled.

If you knew my dad much, you’d know that, for the most part, he’s soft-spoken, with a quiet demeanor. It’s rare to see him rattled by anything. I remember a time when we were returning from a trip to visit his family in Buffalo, NY and his car broke down. Luckily, my husband and I were riding right behind him and pulled over to assist. The hood of the car was smoking and clearly had a huge issue. My dad just looked at it, called for a tow truck, and said, “Well, I won’t be driving home in this today. Can you guys bring me home?” He said this so nonchalantly, so calmly. My husband told me, after we dropped off my dad, three hours later, “You’re dad is so calm, so unrattled. I wish I could be more like that.” It’s true. Whenever I saw my dad upset, it lasted for maybe five minutes. When he was done being annoyed, he’d go outside with a big grin and play “fetch” with the dog. He never let life get to him, or events throw him off being joyful and putting his priorities first, his faith and family.

Some of my friends had the type of dad who didn’t do much with them, or worked too much, or worse–drank excessively. That just wasn’t my experience. Everyday at 4 p.m., my dad left his engineering job at the State and drove right home. When he opened the door, the dog became elated, jumping up to great him. He would look over to my sister and I doing our homework and say, “Hey girls, how was school? Whadya learn?” He always asked us, each day, with a smile and hugs and kisses. He’d then fire up the grill and make some “somewhat” edible hamburgers. He never let us have soda or ice cream, unless it was a special occasion. You could drink water or milk–that was it. We said grace before we ate, and the TV was never on when we had family time. It was expected that we’d eat our vegetables before leaving the table. When we were done, we’d all go in the pool for the night. My dad would do strokes, back and forth in the pool–he always kept active. Of all the things my dad ever taught me, most of it was observed and seeing how he lived.

My dad was always an up lifter and encourager, he never put us down as kids. I remember when I joined ski club. I had always gone cross-country skiing with my dad, and I didn’t know downhill skiing existed. So when I joined ski club in 4th grade, I thought I was getting a cross-country experience. Reader–I was not. I strapped on my skis and took off down the mountain at top speeds and nearly flew down to the ski shack restaurant. When I was done with the night of horror–my dad meandered on up to me in his slow and relaxed manner, and said, “So how’d it go honey?” I looked up at him, a little annoyed and miffed and said, “It was awful… I didn’t know this was downhill skiing! I’ve never done that before…” I hung my head and wiped the snot from my nose from crying my tears of defeat. My dad said, “It’s okay kiddo. You’ve never done this before; it’s only your first night skiing. It’ll get better, just stick with it.” And over time, I did. I did ski club all throughout middle school and high school. I wouldn’t call myself “world class” but I can ski most trails with ease. It was the steady encouragement and support of my dad, the never give up attitude that was always so special to me.

In a world where people are mostly angry, annoyed, and bitter, I try to remember to be peaceful like my dad. Every morning he woke up singing and on his knees in prayer for the day ahead. Every day there were hugs and kisses, even though it annoyed my sister and I at the time. Whenever we got hurt riding our bikes, my dad would run to help and get us an ice treat popsicle from the freezer–it was known to be the antidote to any childhood injury. The calm, the peace that he brought to a room and a deep voice of reason to any situation, always made me proud to know he was the one who raised us.

My dad may not be the “best Dad in the world” or “#1 Dad”. But he is certainly the most honorable dad that I know, and the world, my world, is better that he was a part of it.

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