When I texted my mom to recap her life lessons for my Mother’s Day post, my dad thought it would be hilarious to pass along a few of his tried and trues (he was texting from my mom’s phone and thought I wouldn’t notice. What kind of fool does he take me for?!). So, I would be remiss if I did not recognize Father’s Day. Plus, it would be a shame if I didn’t pass along his pearls of wisdom.
My dad taught me how to ride a bike, took me to hockey games, instilled a love of classic rock, drove me to school, and prepared me for the real world. A lot of things may change over the course of time, but those memories will always be the same. There’s something special about watching the boys with him, and knowing their experiences are running parallel to mine.
Growing up as a police officer’s daughter is no easy feat for several reasons (I rarely wandered from the straight and narrow), but it also comes with a sense of unmatched pride, too. The majority of my dad’s lessons stem from his job, but perhaps that makes them that much more valuable.
- Always utilize your resources. Whatever the situation, know what your resources are and how to use them. Don’t be afraid to use them, either.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Don’t put yourself in a sticky situation because you weren’t paying attention.
- Put your big bills in the front so people only see the $1 bills when you count your money. Now, I rarely have cash, so it’s not like I’m pulling out a big wad of bills, but I still organize large to small.
- Think long, think wrong. This pairs nicely with: don’t question your instincts; if it doesn’t feel right, it isn’t. As the resident over thinker here, I clearly haven’t mastered this yet, even after all these years. What can I say, old habits die hard.
- If you don’t know, don’t go, because it may blow. Um, loosely translated this means, you should probably get the deets up front, or at least be prepared in the event that something may happen (ah finally a justification for my inquisitiveness in new situations!).
- Your car is an extension of your home, so keep it clean. Do I strike you as the type of girl who’s out in the driveway hosing down and waxing her car? Not a chance. But I did try to make my dad proud and keep the inside clean. I also saved the outside for my dad when I came home, because I knew how much he loved washing cars 🙂
- Grass waits for no one. Your grass will grow despite how many obligations you have on your calendar. My dad’s commitment to lawn care rivals my commitment to shopping. We all have our strengths.
- When a professional sporting venue is evacuated, you should probably take cover too. Mere mention of a tornado sends me into a tizzy. Once, my dad attempted to reassure me by pointing out, “Cass, if it was that bad, they would be evacuating Soldier Field,” (the Bears were playing in front of a packed house. My dad was watching the game, and I had the channel on strictly for weather updates.). Well, the meteorologist called his bluff; Bears fans took cover inside the concourse, while Yadi and I headed to the basement to ride out the storm.
Now, my grandpa… he was like a treasure trove of wisdom (some tidbits more useful than others). I spent a lot of time with my grandparents growing up, and he (like my grandma), always made you feel like you were his favorite. We lost my grandpa in November, and the song “What a Wonderful World,” played at his funeral. Ironically, that same song plays on the boys’ Pandora lullaby station. While memories flood my mind when the opening bars begin, it also brings me a sense of comfort knowing that even though they won’t have the same memories with him as I do, he tells them goodnight every time the song plays.
- The appropriate way to celebrate is to raise your glass and exclaim, “here’s to ya!” No other words necessary, it’s an all encompassing phrase.
- Peanut butter is a universal condiment. Seriously, you can pair it with any food group, but it’s especially tasty when mixed with honey, or when you spread it on pancakes.
- There is a left-handed fork. For all the lefties out there, don’t get too excited. You won’t be able to find it at Bed Bath and Beyond, it only exists in my grandparents’ kitchen drawer (fyi, it looked the exact same to me every time).
- Don’t let the heat keep you off the porch. Basically, it’s never too hot to sit on the front porch swing and watch the world (aka traffic) go by. Everyone can take a midday break to relax on the porch.
- No one is too old for pizza money or to be recognized for good grades. Seriously, even A’s in college were paid out, and if you made the Dean’s List too, it was game over.
My dad and grandpa were very different (probably stands to reason as the grandpa I’m referring to was my mom’s dad). But the one constant thread between the two of them is that they put their family above all else. Amidst all the hustle of every day life, they still made time to be there, and that is probably the real treasure.