My Father, My Hero

Let me tell you about my Father:

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.” – Jim Valvano

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My Father is: Generous

While I was away at college and my sister reaped the benefits of shopping trips and dinners a restaurants whilst out at soccer and basketball tournaments, my father was transferring money into my checking account that I could spend. He would make sure that, when I was coming home for the weekend, I would have all my favorite foods ready for consumption. Before I was a vegetarian, I would always have either grilled chicken or salmon for dinner that Friday I returned from the barely edible university student center and dining hall food to which I had grown accustomed. Whenever he goes anywhere—or stops at Rutters, Sheetz, or the store while we are out—he always asks us if we want something. He also shares his food! Which is something a male is notorious for breaking up with someone over, according to sitcoms and romantic comedies. He is always buying us things, and making sure there is always enough money for whatever we wish to do.

His desires and abilities to provide for my college education, my health, my shelter, my car, my insurance, and…basically…my every want and need is not lost on me. I know that I will never repay him for all the generosity he’s shown me. But even so, on this Father’s Day, I truly hope he knows how much I appreciate him and how I know that I wouldn’t be the person I am today without him. And, he does this all without thinking about his own needs. He hardly ever goes shopping for himself; he’s been wearing some of the same shirts for the past few decades because he doesn’t feel the need to buy more.

10959317_745751748854143_9180409476482237211_n.jpg My Father is: Sensitive 

I didn’t just inherit my blue eyes, blond hair, height, and body-build from my Father’s side of the family. I also inherited his temperament: not quick to anger but there’s a threshold you shouldn’t cross before he starts annoyed, a tendency to value alone time more than time surrounded by loads of people, passion for being active, anxious tendencies, and sensitivity.

Sensitive, when contributed to men is complicated. Men are typically supposed to be the strong silent type. My father definitely fits that bill. However, underneath the quiet and stoic exterior, there’s a man who loves unconditionally, just wants there to be peace, and cares deeply for those in his life. Take Lilly for example, my kitty whom we recently acquired; he has spoiled her with affection and attention since she arrived. He’s been giving her just as love as I have to the point where I don’t know who she likes more! Whether it’s before he has to go to work, or whether it’s after dinner, or in between practices and games; he’s out in our office dangling a shoelace in front of her face or rubbing her belly. He gushes: “You’re so cute. You’re so cute Lilly!” 

IMG_3418.jpgMy Father is: Intelligent 

Because my father doesn’t say much, I often wonder what’s going on inside his head. Normally, I would think that he would be thinking about biking, my sister’s basketball games, what he’s got going on at work this week, his next softball game, and what he’s going to do that day. But then, I catch him in the morning on the computer reading articles about pop culture and the news. Granted, he also reads articles about biking and running, shops for new running shoes, and browses for the latest bikes being manufactured for the road; but the fact that he’s interested in what is going on in society and culture, at the moment, and what other people are talking about, shows an intelligent engagement with the world.

My father will always lament how he didn’t try hard in school and, thus, didn’t take advantage of the college experience as much as he would’ve liked. When I was younger, this made me think that my father wasn’t smart or intelligent; but I couldn’t have been more wrong. What he lacked in a focused education, he made up in practical, common sense skills that, today, are more valuable and a signal for deeper intelligence than being able to learn from a textbook. He’s incredible with finances—always making sure that he can give us everything we need to survive and still have some left over for a shopping trip or family vacation; he can handle most house-hold repairs by himself—calling someone or finding someone to do the jobs that he can’t; and he can fix appliances when they appear to be broken—repairing the sink, tuning our bicycles, and repairing furniture.  

IMG_0166.jpgMy Father is: Active 

Though our sports and outdoor activities differ, you can’t deny that I’ve been inspired by my father with a passion for physical activity. My father bikes almost 100 miles a week, sometimes doing a third of it in just one day. As a result, he is incredibly fit and can keep up with us young kids (for the most part). When he’s not hitting the road with his two wheels rolling, he’s at the track running bleachers, on the softball field, shooting hoops with my sister, doing plyometric exercises, and working out with the medicine ball. No hour in the day is too late to exert a little energy, especially with how much soda he takes in.

My father is also very active in our lives. He’s been present for every soccer or basketball tournament—if not every single game, every concert or performance, every presentation or speech, every birthday or celebration, and every time we’ve needed him there. Now, he also takes an active interest in our lives. Not a day goes by where he and I aren’t asking each other how our days went and what we did. We talk about things that most wouldn’t: running, biking, fitness, work, general curiosities. Sometimes, he even brings up my friends and asks about them; and, you can tell that he truly cares. I love these conversations with him and am so thankful that we’ve developed a close relationship. 

My Father is: Loyal

“My father believed in toughness, honesty, politeness and being on time. All very important lessons.” – Roger Moore

If I learned anything from my father, other than to save my money and not spend more than I make, it’s to keep my commitments. Growing up, we never missed a practice, game, day of school, or social gathering; nor did we go back on our word or verbal agreements. Especially with sports! We never missed unless we were deathly sick and, even then, we would still go to practice or a game and work our tails off trying to push through whatever fog we were in and still play well. He always emphasized that with our agreements came the expectation to follow through and do the best job possible. That’s why, even when a particularly nasty opponent would be beating me up on the soccer field, or when I had a fever, I would have to suck it up and deal with it. Injuries and excuses didn’t exist in our house.

My father never accepted less than our fullest effort on the field, and this commitment and dedication has stuck with me and shaped how I approach life.

My Father is: Heroic

He’s not built like Superman, nor is he coming to my rescue on the back of a white horse anytime soon; but my father is, without-a-doubt, my hero. Without him, I wouldn’t have all the privileges that come with being provided for so generously, looked after so diligently, loved so wholly, and inspired so greatly—a feat at which no one else can succeed so spectacularly.

Happy Father’s Day Dad! I LOVE YOU!

 

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