There are few relationships in my life that could compare to the complexity of the relationship that I share with my father.
I grew up hearing stories of his childhood when he grew up in a military family with eleven brothers and sisters, moving from state to state in the deep humid south. I grew up idolizing him because of the crazy wacky adventures that he and his older brother (his best friend) would always be involved in. I always pictured myself in his brother’s shoes living the memories along with my father. He lived in a time where kids could run out of the house in the morning and not have to return until the moon rises, a time of peace and simplicity.
In retrospect I think my dad and his brother must have the worst neighbors as they terrorized the banks of the bayous getting wrapped up into all sorts of mischief. In his stories he was presented with several choices, some good, some bad, he didn’t always make the best decisions but he always learned from them and engraved in me the importance of learning from my mistakes, a character trait that was deeply seeded into me since the day I could comprehend English.
The reason that my fathers’ life lessons have stuck with me so well is because he doesn’t preach to me about good and bad, he lets me live my life and is always there to help me when I screw up allowing me to live and learn. The lessons that are most important in life are the ones you learn from your mistakes, something that my dad taught me and I’d never forget.
My dad has always been my hero because of his amazing ability to control his emotions. I’ve never seen my dad fly off the handle when frustrated by an ignorant individual or panic in a time of danger or emergency, he lives his life calm, cool and collected, he’s the rock that holds my family down in the fierce winds of emotional hurricanes. There has only been one time in my entire life that I’ve seen a tear fall from my father’s eye, it was the day that he got a call from his sister in law telling him that his brother passed away after a swift battle with cancer, I’ve never met his brother because he lived half way across the country but, I felt so close to him because of all the stories my dad shared with me, I felt like a part of their epic childhood.
The importance of me seeing my dad cry was that it taught me that heroes can bleed but they never quit, they just live and adapt to the struggles life throws at him. The next day he was on a flight to Missouri so mourn the loss of his fallen brother and best friend. As soon as he came back he hadn’t changed much but his stories had become more lively and colorful, my hero hadn’t fallen or swayed, he was as strong as ever but carried the weight of his brother’s memories along with him, making sure that they would never die or burnout. It was the single most inspirational things that I’ve ever experienced.
The ability to Inspire was my dads greatest gift. Since I was 7 I’ve been a multisport athlete, at one point I was on 4 different teams for 4 different sports, amazingly it was never a burden but a gift. My dad is a man who works his fingers to the bone day and night to provide a life for me and my sister that he could have never had. But no matter how busy he was he always found time to coach me up, even if he didn’t know much about organized sports he never showed it, always there to pick me up after a strike out or missed soccer goal. Looking back on it now I have no idea how he managed to make it to every single one of my games to cheer me on, while still working his butt off to spoil me and my sister.