Starting note: I am going to be using fake names for everyone unless I have specifically gained permission to use their real names.
I know people always say they have the best dad ever, but they are wrong. They can’t possibly have the best dad ever (unless they are my brother or one of my sisters) because I do! And here’s a fun picture to prove it!
Throughout the years my dad has guided me, helped strengthen me, and helped me grow into the woman that I am today. He has always been there to cheer me up. He picked me up when I fell down and scraped my knees. He encouraged me to follow and pursue my dreams. He cared for me so much and loved me so much that he taught me how to do those things in turn. So, in honor of all that he’s done for me over the years, here are 10 (of the many) lessons I learned from my daddy:
One: Some of the best stories are made up on the spot.
When I was younger, my father used to tell us tons of stories all surrounding the characters he made up: Papacicle and his dog Sandy Claws. Usually they were short and witty. They almost always ended with some kind of corny joke. But, they always made me laugh. I always wanted to hear more. I loved every moment of those stories. Years later, when I think of my childhood, that is one of the things that constantly sticks out in my mind. And I hope that if I ever have children, I will be able to tell just as good of stories.
Two: It is never too late to try harder./Hard work pays off.
For most of my life, my father worked in the DoDDs school system with special needs children. He worked with children of all ages, levels of knowledge, and disabilities. And he was absolutely great at it. But, he settled with that he would not be able to teach normal classes because he did not have a teaching degree. However, when I was high school, my father went back to college. He worked really hard taking online classes. He expended tons of time and energy into it. He did everything that he could to get what he wanted, a teaching degree. And I am so incredibly proud and inspired by him. He has completed all his classes, passed his exam, and only has one step left to go before he can be certified to teach primary education. YAY DADDY!
Three: Thought is really what counts in giving presents.
Some people may be happy getting lavished with huge presents that cost tons of money, and sometimes that is nice. However, I’ve learned that you don’t have to break your bank to give a great present. Some people get a car for their sixteenth birthday, I got 6 roles of duct tape. Some people get fancy gadgets for Christmas, I got a journal and a bracelet. These things may seem insignificant to others, but to me, they were perfect. I could do millions of things with the duct tape. I could write all my stories and songs in journal. The bracelet could be worn all the time. My daddy always put thought into his presents and it payed off. They may not have cost much, but they were worth a fortune to me.
Four: Fathers threaten your boyfriends; it’s part of their job.
Though I may not have dated much in high school, every boyfriend I have ever had that my father has met has sufficiently been threatened. And believe it or not, I am perfectly happy about that. It may seem harsh, but the threatening reassured me that my dad would always have my back. When it comes down to picking sides, he’d always pick mine. Even if he doesn’t agree with my actions (yes, he will tell me such), he won’t stand for me being treated poorly by anyone. This one simple act is my father’s way of taking care of his baby girl.
Five: Road trips are best spent with good company.
As a mil. brat I have had many a road trip in my life and I have traveled to more places than I could count. But one of the best road trips I have ever taken was the 2 day trip with my father to Ypres, Belgium. Though I am not a big fan of history (the subject), I have always been fascinated with WWI and WWII. This interest only grew during the time I lived in Germany. A particular poem which I grew attached to was In Flanders Fields by Lt Col. John McCrae. So, during my junior and senior year in high school, I went on and on about visiting Flanders (now known as Ypres). Spring break of my senior year, my father and I took a 5-6 hour drive all the way there to visit. The car may not have had any radio or AC, but it sure did have great conversation.
Six: Surprises are some of the best things in the world.
My father and I had a rocky relationship for a period of time during high school. He left to go back to the states while my mother and I stayed in Germany. I realize now that there were good reasons for the choices that were made; however, at the time, I was livid. I felt like he had abandoned me and was going to miss a significant time in my life. When he left, he promised me that he would be back for my 16th birthday, that there was no way that he’d miss that. Fast forward to my 16th birthday and he was still in the states (or so I thought). He told me that he just didn’t have to money for a plane ticket back and that he was really sorry he wouldn’t be there. So, I went to my birthday party and tried to make the best of it knowing that he wasn’t coming. Later in the party, he showed up in a Barney suit (that’s a story for another time), and surprised me. Apparently, my mother and father and sisters and brother and virtually everyone except for me knew about this. It was implemented by my parents and sister. That surprise was truly one of the best I’ve ever had. I am not too proud to admit that I cried. A lot.
(Side note: The credit for this lesson actually goes to multiple people including my father, my mother, and my boyfriend. However, this even made it seem appropriate for the list.)
Seven: Sometimes you have to stumble to catch yourself.
Most people don’t know this but I came close to agreeing to marrying someone before. For the guy’s privacy(since he is still a friend of mine), let’s call the guy I was going to marry Neil. Well, Neil asked my father’s blessing to marry me and my father said no. At the time, I couldn’t understand why or what he was concerned about. I brushed off his legitimate worries as him being unfair. However, after some time, I saw what my father was concerned about. I understood why people were hesitant about it. If my father hadn’t said no, Neil and I may have made a choice which would have ended up being bad for both of us. So, although it seemed like a road block at the time, it took that road block to realize we were going the wrong way
Eight: Questions=love and concern
The first time my father was away from me, I distinctly remember how our conversations went. He always asked a spew of questions and I always got so frustrated by them. He failed to see that interrogating me every time we talked made it feel like he didn’t trust me. I failed to see that he wouldn’t have asked so many questions if he didn’t care. Gradually, our communication improved. We figured out a way to communicate without issues. Nowadays, he still asks me a ton of questions about my life and work and current events. And I still sometimes get frustrated. But no matter what, I answer them because I know he’s just showing that he cares.
Nine: Loyalty is everything.
I have seen my father stick with my mother, my siblings, and I through everything. He stuck with me through my depression and cutting. He supported my sister when she found out she was pregnant. He has always loved my mother so much more than anyone could ever realize. Though he wasn’t the “bread winner,” he has done everything in his power to emotionally support my family and he has taught me that loyalty is one of the most important virtues. Period. No matter what. Loyalty is a must.
Ten: You will never be too old for a phone call, hug, warm fuzzy, and a “booga booga booga.”
It’s the small things that show how much someone loves you. I always know I’ll be able to count on my dad, no matter what.
So, I hope you enjoyed some of the lessons I learned from my daddy and my little anecdotes. Daddy, if you’re reading this I love you and miss you!