Since it’s Father’s Day today and all, I wanted to reflect on a few things I’ve learned from my dad. My dad is pretty freaking great, so naturally, I’ve learned A LOT of stuff from my dad, but I’ve narrowed it down to a top 5. I’ve even included one from my future dad-in-law as a bonus. :)
1 Thing I Learned from My Father-in-Law
I’m sure there is much more I will learn from Jason’s dad. So far, one I’ve already learned is how to be a great partner. Jason’s parents are probably the only parents I know who still go on dates. As in, legit go-out-to-dinner-and-dancing-with-just-each-other type of dates, on the regular. He is super supportive of his wife, whether it’s eating healthfully, staying active, driving across the country, spending time with family, or just buying another pair of boots. He watches chick-flicks and creates romantic playlists of music and helps around the house. They are the sweetest, and I hope that we are just like that 30 years from now.
5 Things I Learned From My Father
1. How to Be Cool
When I was a kid, I loved pretty much everything my dad loved. Throughout elementary and middle school, my music taste ranged from The Beach Boys to Tom Petty to Eric Clapton to The Allman Brothers. Not the average music selection of 10-year-olds, but that’s really all I remember listening to in terms of music! I would try any food my dad liked, including calamari, frog legs, and malted milk balls. He taught me how to throw and catch a baseball, drove me to softball practice on the back of his motorcycle, and took me to see the Indians vs the Braves in the World Series. I learned to play the bass guitar and a decent game of billiards. All of these have served me well in life, and especially while dating. (Sorry, dad!)
My dad MADE ME learn to play an instrument. I am sure I am not the only one who has experienced this, but he also MADE ME continue playing said instrument until I graduated from high school. That’s about 7 years total. I fought ‘n hollered pretty much the whole time, but looking back, I’m glad he did. I still don’t enjoy playing the violin, and I’m not very good at it. But it did give me a greater appreciation for music and the ability to sight-read notes. It taught me to finish what I’ve started and to persevere even when I really, really, really didn’t want to. My dad also quit smoking when I was in college, after more than 20 years as a smoker. He had tried many times before that, so I know how hard that was. I’ve always been proud of him for that.
3. Auto Appreciation
Going to an auto show was a fun Saturday activity growing up, and I could name most of the cars there, too. My dad enjoyed all kinds of cars, and when he passed down his silver ’92 Toyota Corolla to me at sixteen, we cleaned it together all the time, brushing the wheel-wells with a toothbrush and meticulously applying Armour All to the dash. In college I had a red Mercury Capri convertible, which I was madly in love with. Near the end of senior year, it started to break down, and my parents bought me a Hyundai Accent. I bawled when I had to leave the “fun” car behind, but now I drive a Kia and love it. I guess there’s just something about a great warranty, amiright?
4. The Importance of Family
My dad and my Uncle Tracy talk daily. As in every day he talks to his brother on the phone. Growing up, they got in all kinds of trouble together, like crawling over a fence into a junk yard and shorting out the electricity in their school with a paperclip, but they always had each other’s back. I’ve never met two siblings who are as close as my dad and my uncle. I try to talk to my parents every other day on the phone and spend quality time with the rest of my family whenever I can because of his example.
One day, when I was about eight years old, we were having brunch in a Wendy’s when we saw a man loading up his plate in the salad bar like he hadn’t eaten in days. (Sidenote: Do you remember when Wendy’s had a salad bar? Strange concept now, but they did!) While my sister and I kind of stared at the man in curiosity, my dad had noticed that the man didn’t have a coat, and it was Ohio-Winter-Freezing out. My dad was wearing his forest green puffy coat, which was the one he wore whenever he was shoveling the sidewalk or playing in the snow with us. He’d had it for years. Without a word, he walked over to the man and gave the man his coat. I don’t know that we ever talked about it, but I never forgot that act of selflessness. And really, that’s what being a dad is all about, isn’t it? The best dads have this quality in spades. Especially my dad.
Happy father’s day to both my dads, and to all the other fathers out there!