I apologize for being an absentee blogger for so long. June has been the month from hell, which is odd. Usually April is the bad month, with all the Autism Awareness stuff we usually do, but this year, April was fun. June was…hectic.
I pre-wrote this blog because it hit me like a ton of bricks, but it hit me a few weeks ahead of Father’s Day, and there’s no point in posting a blog dedicated to Father’s Day on any other day. So here’s what hit me a week or two ago, and it hit me so hard that I felt compelled to write it down. I have yet more stuff going on this weekend, so I’m posting this two days early because I’m not missing this chance. I love you, Dad!
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For years I used to see girls being cuddled by their dads, and I’d look on wistfully, wondering what that’s like. I was never daddy’s little girl, or if I was, it happened before I could remember. Don’t get me wrong; my dad was the first person to change my diaper. He was also a very hard worker, so for a lot of the stuff that went on as my brother and I were growing up, he couldn’t be around. I used to think it was because he didn’t want to be. Now that I’m 43 with two teenagers of my own, I know that’s not the case.
I inherited a lot of things from my dad, including my blue eyes, arthritis, and the natural inability to sit still for long periods of time. I don’t much care for going to the movies because I can’t see my knitting in the dark. If I’m in front of the TV and I’m not doing something, I’m either sick as a dog or it’s a really good game. Likewise, my dad is constantly in motion, even in his 70’s. For a while there I was worried he’d just fall apart and die the day after he retired, but wouldn’t you know it, he’s busier now than he ever was. The difference is, now he’s doing what he wants to do. He worked his ass off, and he planned for this day, and now it’s paying off. He earned it.
Anyway, there were times I wasn’t too happy about the way I grew up. I’d wonder what it’d be like to be daddy’s little girl; to have a dad whose lap I can crawl on and tell all my troubles too, and he’d give me a few dozen “poor baby”’s in return. Today that all changed. It hit me all of a sudden that I’m glad I wasn’t a “daddy’s girl”. Daddy’s girls will run back to daddy when something goes wrong. They’re whiny (sometimes) and have a tendency to act helpless, because they know it’ll get them what they want. They’re dependent, even when they’re independent.
My dad didn’t raise me to be like that. Let me tell you a few things my dad taught me, some by example and some face to face.
– Good enough, isn’t.
– Set your schedule around the other person’s. They’ll remember that next time.
– Don’t settle. A half-ass job won’t get you anywhere. Most times, it’ll put you back at square one, and out a good share of your hard-earned money.
– When you think you’ve given all you’ve got, give more.
– Your kids come first, always. Everyone else comes second. That goes double for you. Like it or not, you’re at the end of the line. (For years, I thought all dads gnawed off steak bones while the rest of us ate the steak.)
– Plan for tomorrow, because it’ll be here before you know it. Be ready.
– Try everything once. If you try it and you still don’t like it, fine, but at least you can honestly say you tried it.
My dad taught me to be a survivor, which is something most daddy’s girls don’t learn. These are lessons I’ll take with me for the rest of my life. I pray I’ve passed these lessons on to my sons. If I’m half the parent he was, my boys will be good men too, just like my dad. But you know what? I’m not done yet. There’s more work to do, and I’m on it, Dad. Count on that.