“What do you want to be when you grow up?” As a child, when I was asked this question, my answers varied from a skater in the Ice Capades, to an artist, to a rock star, to a yuppie. However, one constant always remained. Even when I was not positive of what I wanted to be, I always knew who I wanted to be. After witnessing the work ethic, love of life, and love of family that my Dad possesses, I have always known that I want to be just like him.
My father always told me that it does not matter what you do, always give 110% to it, and if you can’t show up on time, don’t show up at all. Also true to his form, Dad never asks anyone to do anything he would not do himself. In turn, this has earned him tremendous respect from not only his peers, but the laborers that work for him. In my emulation of his work, I have created my own reputation within the workforce as an individual that will take on, and excel at, any task that is entrusted to me. My Dad and I have both carved out a niche in the corporate world, making good money based on our personality and skills, not a degree. However, now that I am pursuing my degree, though he worries about me “doing too much” he is one of my biggest supporters.
Dad has taught me to love life – you only go around once; better make it good. People say I am just like my Dad; our personalities and sense of humor are one in the same. A bit warped, but the same. From the time I was small I would watch my Dad, and wherever we would go, he would either know someone or make a friend by talking to a complete stranger. Just like Dad, I will strike up a conversation with anyone about anything. There is no such thing as a quick trip anywhere; there is always someone to say hello to, or a nice conversation to be had. I have met a lot of great people this way – why stand on pretension?
With this love of life comes a passion for singing. This does not necessarily mean good singing, mind you. In fact, Dad has been known to ingeniously make up not only his own words, but the entire melody of a song if the correct ones escape him. This is another one of Dad’s traits that I inherited. Neither of us could carry a tune if you put handles on it, but we both love to sing. And look out if any ABBA tune comes into earshot – we sing it loud and proud! Incidentally, my humblest of apologies to all who sat around us at last year’s performance of “Mamma Mia” at Proctor’s Theater. Our exuberance may have been a bit over the top, but we did have fun!
Above all of these wonderful characteristics resides my father’s love for his family. He is never ashamed to share how much we mean to him, and will tell anyone that we (his family) are his greatest achievement in life. Dad has always done whatever he needed to do to support his family, even if it meant tirelessly working three jobs. On the flip side, he has never asked for anything from us, only that we are happy, and that the three of us (my brother, sister and I) always take care of one another.
This example portrayed for me everything that I have always wanted to be for my children. I am right here for them, and will always hold them accountable to not only themselves, but to each other as a family. I would lay down my own life for my family, just as I know my father would do. My children know that they can talk with me about anything, and nothing is ever more important in my life than our family. With the example that my father set, I know that occasionally this can be challenging, but nothing in my life will ever be more significant.
I am blessed for the presence of my Dad in my life. He has always told me that I can do, and have done, absolutely anything that I set my mind to. While I know that he loves and respects me for the wife, mom and woman I have become, sometimes he still sees me as his “little girl”. This is fine with me, because in the end, he is the one person in the world that will still hold me tight when I cry and not ask for anything more in return than a hug.