Yesterday was my dear old dad’s birthday. I am so lucky to not only have a father that provided for me but one who has always genuinely loved me. In the last year I have learned a lot about my relationship with my dad. It’s been a great experience.
I have always felt very different from my dad. He’s such an outdoors person, loves camping and being athletic. I, on the other hand, hate camping and am not much of an outdoorsy person. I also love to read and he isn’t a great reader. I like TV and movies, he doesn’t. I love all types of music. He likes mostly classical. There are lots of things like that.
I used to feel that my entire family was very different from me. I was social, they were more homey. I love the city, they would be happier in a small town. I also used to resent the fact that after I moved away from home my family started gaining interests in many of the things I love including my love of musical theater and singing. Why did this only happen after I left?
That said, over the last year I have worked with my dad on these rental homes. It is really the first project we have ever worked on together. In doing so, I have realized that we work in similar ways. My parents taught me to work hard. I used to complain that my friends didn’t have to do Saturday work or chores and my dad would say “find new friends because in this family we work”! We didn’t grow up on a farm or something but we did work hard. We always had a large garden, which we worked hard to cultivate (much to my youthful chagrin). As I’ve worked with my dad I’ve appreciated his dedication and his positive attitude even when we are stressed out.
One of the things that impresses me the most about my dad is that he almost never comes unglued. I have a lot of moments where I am freaking out and my dad is always a calming influence. Now that I have seen it in work I have also noticed this same influence on our family. He often sets the tone of the night with a joke, a smile or a compliment.
My dad also makes things fun. He was always making up weird jingles for around the house. Like if we were grounded he’d sing “Grounded marked with a cowards bell. What do you do if your grounded and you know your a man!”. My dad gets excited about life- even small things like a new place to develop film, a new dirt bike trip, or a great sandwich. He used to always have his top ten list. He’d say “this is one of the top 10 meals I have ever had”. We would laugh and say “Dad, your top 10 list is a top 1000 by now.” In high school it drove me crazy but I appreciate it now. He’s taught me to live each day with excitement and energy.
My dad is also loyal. In the Mormon church we do something called home and visiting teaching. This is basically a chance for members to visit one another and make sure everyone is OK. My dad has always been an amazing home teacher. He really cares about the people he visits and keeps in touch with them after we move. He even spoke at a former home teachee’s funeral last year. My dad loves people and once that love is earned you have it forever.
My dad also has a good heart. He sometimes can be brutally honest but in the end he wants the best for people. There aren’t very many men in the business world I could describe as guileless. He hates no one- has no enemies.
Another good example my dad and mom have both shown is how to resolve conflict and create a good marriage. I have never doubted for a second that my parents love each other. My dad used to say that he was either the smartest or luckiest man on earth for marrying my mom. I remember at birthdays he used to write letters to my mom about how much he loved her. I don’t remember my parents arguing when I grew up. I am sure it happened on occassion but nothing that stuck in my mind. My mother had to go on complete bedrest for her final 3 pregnancies. Each time it was a difficult time for our family. I love my siblings but I hope they understand the sacrifice that was paid for them to be here. My dad cared for my mother, took both the role of mother and father on, and did all he could to help with the babies after they came. Not many men would be so loving and caring for a basically invalid spouse. (I will have to write a separate blog about that experience) My mother has had health problems ever since the last pregnancy and my dad has continued to lift her load often and usually without complaint. Can you ask for anything more in a marriage partner? If I ever get married I will have a good example in both of my parents. (My mom’s blog entry will come next month on her birthday).
One last thing I appreciate about my dad. He accepts me the way I am. I have never felt any pressure to be a particular type of person, have a particular career or major, or do anything different in my life. I am a very independent person and if I had parents who had forced me to do things I know I would have rebelled. They made things my decision and then supported my choices. This was very wise, and I am grateful for their great parenting. I had a roommate who’s mother would have dates set up for her when she would go home for holidays. My parents couldn’t be more different. I never feel or hear grief about being single. They are so supportive. When I quit my job last year they were totally supportive. In fact, when I was debating about whether to move into my apartment it was my dad that said “Can you picture yourself happy anywhere else?” I knew that I couldn’t, so I moved in and have been very happy here.
Most of all I know my dad loves me and I love him back. He was the only person who had faith in my marketing abilities and gave me chance with these rentals. I am so grateful for that. It is a pleasure working with him every day and I hope I am a tenth of the example and friend that he is. I love him very much. Happy Birthday!