Last month, I honored my mama with a post about all that I've learned from her. Today, it's time to give a shout out to my pops. I'm not sure if he reads my blog, so: MOM, please tell dad that I wrote about him and would like him to read it. Thanks.
My dad is a man of few words. Unless you get him talking about sports or home improvement. Then he could go on for days. Usually, when that happens, we all just kind of sit and watch. Seeing my dad get excited about something is exciting for me. He is very mellow, so if you can see passion on his face, it's a big freaking deal to him. And to me. I say that to illustrate the fact that most of the things I've learned from my dad aren't because we sat down and talked about them. I learned them by watching him live.
My dad could probably have dozens of blogs written in his honor by the people he has influenced in his lifetime. From work buddies to teenage boys, he has invested his time, energy and encouragement in the people put in his path. It's been fun to watch.
I'm never more proud of my dad as I am when I watch him teach. He used to coach my brother's baseball teams and would become a second (and sometimes the only) father-figure to many of the boys on his team. I don't necessarily think he intended for this to happen. He just met the need in them to be encouraged and challenged to meet their potential and thrive. And they did.
My dad also taught me what it looks like to be patient. We definitely had our scuffles when I was growing up, but my dad never yelled and never lost his temper with me. I can't say the same for my frazzled teenaged self. The older I get, the more I appreciate his peacefulness. My house was not a chaotic or fearful place. I know that's not often the case for a lot of kids. The fact that he taught a gangly tween how to swing a bat without losing his cool should speak volumes.
I was taught the value of family by my dad. Things were not always easy, but my dad took care of us. He has spent days, weeks and months in hotels and a trailer because work wasn't always at home. He gave up what was probably his idea of "normal" so that he could give us the things we needed. There were just as many days, weeks and months that I missed my dad, but I always understood that this was his sacrifice. I am only beginning to understand what that meant for him and my mom.
One of the most valuable things dad taught me how to do is... lounge. He has mastered the recliner unlike anyone I know (except his father). This is something I also do well (no, it's not on my resume). But underlying this hobby of my dad's is the philosophy that you work your butt off and then rest. Dad has always regulated our tendencies to GO and DO until we crash. I still hear his voice telling me to slow down when I'm overcommitted.
A really important lessons my dad taught me is that you don't have to win, but you have to try. As a kid, I played a lot of sports at which, frankly, I was terrible. Whether I struck out (Every. Time.) or we lost the game or I came in dead last or I made a free throw or we shut them out, my dad was proud that I had shown up and worked hard. I am a more loyal and committed person because of this lesson.
He also taught me how to tie my shoes, which has gotten me pretty far in life.
I love you, dad!!