I’ve woken up on Father’s Day three times now since I lost my dad, and I honestly can’t believe it’s been that long or that he’s gone at all. In December 2016 when he passed away out of nowhere, the thought of carrying on with life as I knew it seemed impossible. I have to say, it still seems impossible…but the rest of us don’t really have much choice in the matter.
My grandfather passed away when I was in elementary school. Not long before, my parents had gotten this adorable little townhouse on Lake Conroe north of Houston, which they were fixing up and we’d go visit on weekends. Not long after, my dad wanted to sell the townhouse because his father never saw it. So, they sold it – and as a child, the whole thing made no sense to me and just seemed completely unfair. We always had such good times there – the pool, the lake, the BBQ.
But I get it now. It makes my heart hurt to think that my dad never made it to Seattle, that he wasn’t around for the move to NYC, that he’ll basically miss everything I ever do from here on in my life.
My dad is absolutely the person who has most impacted the person I am today. I can’t say that I always thought of that as a good thing, then something I heard self-help extraordinaire Tony Robbins say really hit home for me – if you’re going to blame people for all of the bad, you have to blame them for all of the good too.
Throughout my life, my dad always had an opinion on what I (and everyone else) should be doing. And by opinion, I mean he knew what I should be doing and that was that. Most of my life, I followed along because it was easier. Until I was about 30, I did just what he wanted me to do. I was never one for confrontation, and it seemed far easier to not rock the boat. Coming up on my 30th birthday and reflecting on my life, I realized that my approach wasn’t doing me any actual favors and decided to move out and then adopted a puppy.
My dad did not agree with either of these things – but for literally the first time in my life, I did the things anyway. Even though he didn’t agree with my adopting Kona, the two of them became inseparable best friends. He loved her the way that I imagine grandparents love their grandchildren. The man who was always so rigid and strict with so many rules was letting this little dachshund lay with him in the bed, feeding her peanut butter out of a spoon and using his baby voice to talk to her. It was the sweetest thing I’d ever seen, and it showed me a side of my dad that I didn’t even realize existed.
For years and years, I thought that my dad was holding me back from living my best life because he didn’t support any of my hopes or dreams unless he agreed with them. To be fair, most of them I never even would have told him because I “knew” what he’d say. But his crazy high standards and critiques made me work hard and become a highly determined person. As I’ve learned with age, none of his reactions were ever really about me, they were rooted in his fear. And that fear tended to manifest as anger, to which I never reacted well.
For better or worse, I definitely wouldn’t be the person I am today without my dad. And since I think I’ve turned out to be a pretty great person (if I have to say so myself!), I’m more than willing to share the credit with him. I know he always had my best interests at heart and loved me. And if I’d had a father who expressed love the way I thought I wanted, I wouldn’t be me and I wouldn’t have the life I have now. So, thank you for everything, dad. Happy Father’s Day, I love and appreciate you more than you’ll ever know. ❤️❤️❤️