My dad is super handy. He’s able to fix anything. When I was a young girl and something broke, we always put it on dad’s workbench. “Broke” could mean out of batteries, or it could mean busted into fifteen pieces. Within a few days, the broken treasure inevitably reappeared, as good as new. My dad at his workbench is one of the iconic memories of my life: it’s one of the many ways he loved us, and loves us still. I love that my dad sees worth in broken things and takes the time, energy and patience to restore it. His willingness to restore things allows me to have treasures from not only my past, but generations past in the form of furniture, clocks, and other sentimental tributes.
When I learned to drive in 1995, my dad installed a car phone in my car. There was no “here’s how you change a tire” lesson or “let’s change the oil.” There was just the promise that he would always be there, which was obviously far more comforting. I know that whenever I have a problem, I can call dad and that will likely be the fastest and most efficient way to solve said problem. He’s able to love and teach me and make me feel safe whilst still encouraging me to go and live my dreams. He has never asked me to do anything for him, but simply to go and live the life of my dreams. I’m doing it dad, and I’m proud of myself, in part, because I know you’re proud of me.
My dad taught me to water-ski, and he is the very best boat driver I’ve ever ridden with. The thrill of bursting out of the water and skimming along will forever remain one of my happiest places. Along with those long, sun-soaked, music-filled boating days of my youth came the hours of preparation and the hours of unpacking of which I was blissfully unaware. My dad has always done the most tedious and thankless jobs to make the days rich and focused on the fun. He’s selfless and generous with all he has. His work ethic, dependability, character and love are qualities I will aspire to for all of my days.
My dad once told me that the day I was diagnosed with cancer was the worst day of his life. As a parent myself, I get it and I think I would feel the same if it happened to my child. However, being diagnosed with cancer was not the worst day of my life: that day, while jarring and awful, was to me an opportunity to rise above my circumstances. I could wallow and whine and cry, but that’s not what my family does. We do the best with what we’ve got. We work hard, we play hard. Because I am the woman that my parents raised, I knew that I could do cancer, and do cancer well. My Do Today Well journey is my family’s legacy, and it is generations deep.
I love you Dad.