fathers & daughters
Where do I start? On Mother's Day, I posted about my relationship with my mother, the trials and tribulations, the lessons learned and the unconditional love she has given me throughout my years on this earth.
My father on the other hand...
Simply put, he is still the man I look up to the most in life. Call it cliche, or call me a daddy's girl, but my relationship with my father is one worth bragging about. And I will.
Unlike the one I have with my mother, this one is quite different. My mother is the constant nurturer and she has been somewhat of a super woman my whole life - juggling work, family, cooking meals from scratch, getting us to activities and never stopping for a minute to herself. As a woman, she is a tough act to follow.
My father just has this calmness and sensibility about him. He has always been the rational one, the one that offers advice only when asked. He's the observer and the one who focuses hard on tasks - whether its reading the morning newspaper, taking business meetings at work or patiently helping his poor, attention deficit math-dumb daughter at the dinner table in the evenings after a long day at the office (more than I'd like to remember!). He has always had this ability to just listen and hear you out while being firm yet honest in his response.
I always had time for my dad and always listened to his opinion - as much of a brat as I was growing up - I valued it. I wanted to hear it. I needed to hear it and I knew that I would learn something from him each and every time. He is this witty soul who would be categorized as more of a quiet man (compared to my mother who is the ultimate social butterfly). He is always intrigued by people's stories. He engages with people. He has this uncanny ability to know something about EVERYTHING - history, politics, finance, business, global events, the law. It was like having my very own Encyclopedia at my disposal! His brain is like a sponge (except maybe when remembering names, which my mother was a rock star at:)
And just when you think you've written him off as a "quiet guy", he hits you out of nowhere with a joke (but a smart joke that made you think). Or a funny anecdote that would have you in stitches. Add some single malt scotch and a cigar and you have yourself a man who will literally get up on stage at a karaoke bar and sing Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline in front of a bunch of strangers!
Since the day I was born, I was his Blue Eyes. Always and forever. I remember as a girl, I would ask him to tuck me in at night and tell me the story of Andrea (yes, in hindsight, slightly narcissistic), but he would kneel next to my bed and start with the day I was born and as every month and year went by, the chapters in this story of my life would grow and I would just soak it up. Its those fond memories that I will forever cherish because he took the time to do so.
My father taught me valuable lessons in life, and still remains to do so today. As a child I had a dream of becoming a doctor. I was more intrigued with my mother's profession as a nurse because I didn't understand what he did for a job when I was younger. All I knew was that he went to an office, day in and day out, sat at a desk and did it all over again the next day. I had absolutely no interest in what he did, so it was a funny turn of events when I ended in business. As I got older and started to mold my career, he became my mentor and is still is the one I turned to for business advice. When he was still working and I lived downtown, I would walk to his office frequently to sit with him, catch up, drink coffee and occasionally, we'd have lunch dates. His advice is something I always needed mostly because I respected his opinion, but because there was this calm that came over me after I left. I felt at peace and knew that deep down, I would conquer what it was I needed to conquer. He helped me with everything. Dealing with (difficult) business people, contract negotiations, understanding the business law, business financing. You name it, he was my go-to guy. And as I get older, I realized that this has never ended. Even 15+ years into my career, I still so very much respect, and admittedly need, his opinion.
I soon realized over the years that my father was a wunderkid of sorts when it came to business. Succeeding at a very young age, traveling the world and meeting with government dignitaries, taking private tours of Versailles, staying in rooms at the Plaza Hotel in NYC, driving around in private limos. France, Norway, Ireland - oh the glamorous life he lead. That was all fine and dandy and he'd shake off that acknowledgement with his modest personality because to him, it was just 'doing his job", but what I most admired about him (and really, this has been my benchmark when it comes to business) was even though he climbed the ladder into tremendous positions of responsibility and power, he remained as humble as apple pie. Always treating others with respect no matter who they were what they did. Fairness & respect were key for him and he never abused his power.
He also did the best he could at the homestead, always being a present father. Honouring what my mother's passion was as a nurse, knowing how important it was for her to have a life outside of the home and balancing out their schedules for her to do so. He picked up the slack in the evenings when my mother took off to do a shift in the ER. He hung out with Davis and I on the weekends when she was working, taught us how to the lawn, taking my brother to all his hockey games and always had Carly Simon, Cyndi Lauper, or Paul Simon playing on the record player in our house. I can still hear the music blaring throughout the house. It's like it was yesterday.
My father has always been a constant in my life, watching me do my thing, offering me advice when I asked for it and giving me the space to truly grow up into the woman I was meant to be. He took my sharp tongue with a grain of salt, but I think he got a kick out of it sometimes because he never knew what I was going to say. He always knew my brother and I were going to grow up into the decent, respectful, successful humans he knew we were capable of. He's been the example of the type of man I wanted to marry, and he held the bar high. It's no wonder it took me 35 years to find my soulmate - I was never going to settle for anything less than what I deserved because I knew a great example of a man existed simply because I had my father in my life who was one.
And as we all get older in life, it really is true - you start to appreciate more and more what you have. I know how fortunate I am to have such amazing parents. Through the ups and downs. Good and bad. I now cherish any time I get with them both because their happy, healthy and enjoying the life they worked hard to achieve. After all, they've done their work and have earned it.
I am eternally grateful for having my father in my life because no matter how old I get, I will always be his Blue Eyes.
Happy Father's Day Dad.