When I was about 8 years old and obsessed with Mariah Carey, I would attempt to sing her songs as loud as I could. Often, trying to hit her infamous “whistle-tones.” Anyone alive in the 90’s knows what I’m talking about. In my garage, as I basically just shouted very loudly in a singing voice (as I still often do), I told my Dad I wanted to sing just like Mariah Carey. He looked at me and said, “You will.”
I may not sing like Mariah today (but I’m pretty confident I’ve successfully hit whistle-tone status several times), that moment between my Father and I stuck with me for the rest of my life. It is one of the 1st, “I believe in you” type of memories I have from my Father that I could actually comprehend.
And he did. and still does.
This man taught me integrity from an early age, probably beginning with the time he found writing on the wall. When I emphatically denied and than he read the transcript aloud, “dom-i-n-i-que,” I received my due punishment. Most of things I accomplished in my youth, I hoped would make him proud. As I got older, I learned the value of these early life lessons and then began to learn to do things for myself.
When I was younger, I mostly remember my Dad as a very stern individual. But I am sure he had to be, I was a rather unruly and wild kid with whom most of my teachers would ask me, “Are you an only child?”
But truly, my Dad taught me wit an humor. Even though, he’s pretty reserved in public, my Dad gets crazy during a round of Yahtzee. So much so that he been known to break the pieces after screaming yahtzee, and then smashing the die cup. Basically, he knew when to work and get shit done and then when it was time to have fun, he is the craziest sober person I know.
Speaking of crazy, I remember thinking he was insane (when I was a teenager who knew everything), especially after the time I found out that he “stalked” me in church. Looking back on moments like that, I realize that he was a Dad who actually cared about what his daughter was up to and making sure I wasn’t getting into trouble…or even worse, getting involved in some crazy cult. He gave me the freedom to do my thing, but checked in on me every once and a while, as a good Dad should.
The most incredible thing my Dad has done for me is let me be myself. He never tried to make me into something I was not. He never forced me to do things I didn’t want to do and whole heartedly supported me in the things that I did (except getting tattoos. I don’t think he’ll ever be a fan of that). He DID teach me to do things to the absolute best of my ability. To strive to be the best at whatever I do, no matter what. He challenged me to have my own brain with my own thoughts. (I am sure sometimes he regrets that when he needs tech support and I begrudgingly help him because I hate doing tech support, even for myself. Sorry Dad).
He even gave me my first self-help book when I was barely a teenager, and that is probably why I am such a junkie to this day.
The older I get, the more I realize I am more and more like him everyday. And I am ok with that. He is one of the most loving, fun, and ethical humans I have ever known. I am tremendously lucky to call him my Dad.