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HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my first favorite man, my dad! Today’s his big day – WOOHOO! He doesn’t know it yet, but we’ll be popping by later today to surprise him for dinner – HOLLAH. I lovelovelove doing stuff like. Like, I live for it. Got someone you need surprised? Need to plan a careful execution to keep it a surprise + make their day? I’m your girl. If blogging ever no longer works as my fulltime gig, you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be a professional surprise puller-offer, or a pro party planner. I LIVE for it.
Last year for my mom’s birthday, I shared 22 lessons I’ve learned because of her. Really, I just feel so #blessed for both of my rents, because they’re both just really friggin’ awesome, bombdotcom people. So for daddio today, I’m doing the same – sharing 10 life lessons he’s taught me (directly or inadvertently) over the years, along with some stories that I think perfectly exemplify the kinda guy he is. Also can we just acknowledge that I was the cheesiest, cute AF child? Like WOW, E, look at dem cankles! Dear Lord I hope any future kids of mine have chubby cheeks and chubby everything because lawdy is it cute.
ALSO sidenote, do I look more like my mom or my dad? I get both all the time, so y’all be the judge… 🙂
10 LIFE LESSONS I LEARNED FROM MY DAD
Dad never missed a sporting event, musical, chorus or band concert, etc. from 3-year-old preschool shows through college a cappella. Never. Missed. A. Show. Also always had the video camera with him. Nothing was not important enough for the camera.
- LESSON LEARNED: Be there for the important ish in life. And in the end, it’s all more important than whatever you might be doing instead.
When my brother and I ran cross country, rather than move from starting line to finish line like many spectators (it’s a 3.1 mile race, so it’s a decent-sized course – ha!), he’d jog to each viewing position along the whole route to cheer at every spot.
- LESSON LEARNED: He never took “the easy” way. As a dad, he would really do whatever it took for his family. I swear if the man was told he had to take a bullet for one of us, he’d do it in a heartbeat. Always there – always.
Dad made a valiant effort to teach me to drive clutch. Mind you, my dad is a GREAT driver. Probably the best. I swear he could parallel park a school bus into a space the size of a smart car. After many successful trips around a school parking lot, we finally ventured out onto open road…only to get stranded in the middle of an intersection. I have many talents, and driving clutch will never be one.
- LESSON LEARNED: I suck at driving manual and always will. HA. 😉 But really tho, some things just aren’t meant to be. He never made me drive stick again, so the lesson I learned here is to just recognize + acknowledge when you’re terrible at something, and know when to walk away and let someone else drive instead. 😉
He’d always wait until the last minute to buy my mom a Christmas gift, just so that he could take me with him to shop. Most of the time he knew exactly what he wanted to get anyways – he just wanted my “style” approval.
- LESSON LEARNED: Bringing other people into your process is a really fun, special way to get others involved and feeling special, too. We can go through life alone thinking “we’ve got this” through it all, or we can make it a collaborative effort. The latter is always more fun + fruitful.
He currently carries my business cards everywhere and has probably given away more than me. Strike that. He has definitely given away more than me. Like, I think everyone from the mailman to his Friday night poker buddies have the CUR logo in their wallets now.
- LESSON LEARNED: Be proud of the people you lovelovelove. Heck, Dad has helped me have more pride in MYSELF, just because he believes in me so dang much it hurts. It was almost frustrating in college, because if I was stressed about something, he just had this “of course you’ll figure it out” attitude that was very much not what I wanted to hear in the heat of the moment when I was about to fail an accounting final (#BeenThereDoneThat). But I think it really impacted my self-confidence for the better in the long run – of COURSE I should believe in myself, because it’s a no-brainer for him. And not even in a totally biased dad way – although he’s totally a biased dad, ha! – but in a pointblankperiod, it’s-just-the-way-it-is sorta way.
My “Thou shalt not take sh*t” attitude is 100% from Dad. I learned this from him waaaaaay early in life.
- LESSON LEARNED: Thou. Shalt. Not. Take. SH*T! I have a sign in my office with this on it, and ain’t it the truth, baby! Dad’s ALWAYS been the best at not taking it from anyone under any circumstances. He knows when to stand up for himself (+ his family). He would create an invisible fortress around his inner circle and let no ish enter. ALSO, he gives no hoots about what other people think of him. In the world of social media and living on the internet for my job…this ain’t always easy. But he really embodies what’s truly important in life versus not, and it’s always the most refreshing reminder to take no sh*t + value the good folks.
He taught me to polka. A dance that is actually the MOST FUN THING EVER at big parties and weddings, especially when you know how to actually do it. This turned into a *huge* thing at our wedding that I’ll never forget.
- LESSON LEARNED: Always request a polka at a wedding. Learn how to do it. And then grab the closest person and hit the dance floor. Everyone will be laughing and smiling and it’ll be beautiful, I swear.
When I played basketball, whenever I’d practice with him, he always wanted me to play left-handed (I’m a rightie). It would drive me NUTS when I was still sucky at it, because it was hard!
- LESSON LEARNED: Hard things are worth doing. Hard thing things are worth practicing. Hard things are worth perfecting. When I first met J, he had NO left hand on the court. I did. You know how much fun it was to whoop his behind at basketball just because I could drive a layup left-handed and he couldn’t??? Ladies, there is no greater confidence gained than beating your man at basketball. Just don’t take his pride in the process. 😉 Ha! But really tho, doing the hard stuff might be the biggest pain – emotionally, mentally, AND physically – in the moment. But in the end, you’ll be so grateful that you did it. Those efforts turn into skills, and those skills turn into talent. And that talent can be harnessed in one way or another down the road. Sure, I might not be playing basketball on the reg now and literally dribbling left-handed, but the idea of just repeatedly doing the unnatural and the uncomfortable in an effort to GROW – that’s a lesson that can be applied to pretty much errrr’thaaang.
It’s all about the little things with dad. New coffee on sale at the outlet, having fresh windshield wiper fluid, finding the ultimate cat toy or treat, finding a new favorite beer – nothing is too small to celebrate.
- LESSON LEARNED: It’s all about the little things. In the end, you’ll realize those were the big things all along. Never let yourself not be excited by the little joys in life.
To this day, dad works 7 days a week many days. He worked overtime whenever he possibly can to just bring in a few extra bucks. How many folks in today’s society would willingly work behind their required hours – on Saturday’s, Sunday’s, at 5 am, etc??? And still, he wouldn’t miss any event, show – anything. His dedication + selflessness are UNPARALLELED, YO.
- LESSON LEARNED: Hustle hard. Love harder. Dad knows when + how to work his BUTT off for his family, but he also knows when to call off, come home early, or heck, go in at 4 am to get out earlier to still get hours in and also be there for our after-school activities growing up. He’s just a do-whatever-ya-gotta-do-to-get-the-job-done kinda guy. Suck it up, get it done, make it happen. And remember WHY you’re doing it in the first place. I have no doubt in my mind he’d take a bullet for any of us if he had to. He would do anything for him family. He’d be working as much as possible to PROVIDE for his family – so he knew that for as important as it was that he made money, it was also just as (if not more) important for him to be there for moments in life. And I am SO stinkin’ grateful for that now as an adult. Because some of my best memories with my dad – and some of the most significant things I learned subsequently – are those times when he was just THERE. Comes straight from work to my cross country meet, running to different stops so that I could hear “WOOO GO ERICA!!” in that second mile, being at not just one musical performance, but ALL shows AND our dress rehearsals…he was there. He always was, he always will be. It was just the best lesson and love that I saw in action, that I hope to bring to our own kids one day.
Crap, now I’m crying. HAHA. Ugh #AllTheFeels.
Dad, I know you read CUR religiously even if you have no clue what color lipstick is best or why anyone would need 100+ pairs of shoes. 😉 Thanks for being the official CUR coffee supplier (a v. important job, obvi), for inadvertently heading growth + development by passing out more biz cards than me, and for holding an umbrella over Mom that time when we had to get a shoot done but it was drizzling and we couldn’t get the camera wet.
Thanks for always being my biggest fan and for lifting me up and believing in me, even when I don’t believe in myself. Lovelovelove you, always.