Eternal Gratitude: Dad

For most of my childhood, my Mom would stay home with my sisters and me. There were a few years where she also worked, and we got to spend time with our Dad in the evenings. One of my favorite memories is when he would make dinner for us. Specifically when he would make spaghetti with his special meat sauce.

The recipe was nothing too complex, but as children, we thought it was the coolest thing ever. We even got to help him cook, but all that meant was we would stand in the kitchen and watch him, or occasionally hand him ingredients.

The most exciting part was that we were also responsible for taste testing! I remember I loved his sauce so much, I would beg him to make pasta every day. As I grew older, he stopped cooking for us as frequently. I now know the recipe, so I could make it whenever I want. I often do, but it doesn’t taste the same. There was something special about those moments with my dad in the kitchen.

My favorite of his many philosophies is that I shouldn’t always take things so seriously.

I have many other fond memories from my childhood of special weekends spent with my dad. We did plenty of activities together. There were mini-golf competitions, we would ride go-carts, and play catch in the backyard. He would take me to work with him sometimes so I could learn all about how to sell windows. Before he endured the laborious process of teaching me how to drive, he even taught me to play soccer! And I was one of the strongest offensive players in my 2nd-grade team.

Over time, I stopped playing sports and we didn’t go out to play games as much. But the one thing we started to do more was talk. We stopped with the basic topics and began to ponder deep and serious concepts. To this day, whenever my Dad and I get together, we fall into these thought-provoking discussions that could go on for hours.

Although they often tend to go awry, I believe this is necessary for both of us to expand our perspectives. Besides, it’s much more enriching to engage in conversation with someone when you don’t quite see eye to eye with them.

The reason these chats with my Dad are so refreshing is that I’ve found his optimism balances out my realism (or cynicism) most of the time. I have always been aware of and admired his sunny disposition. There are times when his happy-go-lucky attitude is a bit unrealistic, but it always lifts the mood. He taught me the ability to always find humor in any situation, although I’m not quite as consistent with that as he is. My favorite of his many philosophies is that I shouldn’t always take things so seriously.

His boisterous demeanor is what helped me to gain the confidence to converse with anyone who crossed my path.

As merry as he may be, he’s never been one to shy away from telling it like it is. He is very direct with people. If he has an opinion or concern, he will respectfully and tactfully let you know. His deliberation is always passionate and honest, and he usually throws a lighthearted joke somewhere in the mix. Growing up, I benefitted from his example of genuine expression. He truly taught me where to start in terms of working to be more assertive.

It was beneficial for me to see my father working so much. He was and has always been a natural salesman and loquacious socialite. I was subconsciously drawn to sales and network marketing because of my experiences witnessing my father interact with clients and co-workers. Through him, I adapted the ability to overcome a lot of my childhood social anxieties in a work environment. His boisterous demeanor is what helped me to gain the confidence to converse with anyone who crossed my path.

My father also used to tell my sisters and me bedtime stories. I remember how much I loved his stories and often asked him to tell them over and over again. However, as I grew older I came to learn that he is notorious among the people who know him best for being a poor storyteller. The enthusiasm in his narration is always there, but the storytelling itself is a tad convoluted.

That being said, I never considered him to be bad at it. I was always thoroughly entertained and excited. Reflecting on the countless stories he’s told me in my lifetime, there’s no denying that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Anytime I try to tell a story, it can very quickly turn complicated.

Overall, my father has influenced my writing/communication style, and my personality more than he knows. Plenty of my pieces include ranty run-on sentences galore as well as incomplete phrases sprinkled in. Maybe we don’t follow all of the elite grammar rules, but we know how to get a message across.

The art of conversation and conversational writing is not easy, but it came fairly naturally to me because of my father’s friendly social presence. I make a point not to edit down my long-winded ramblings because it feels like the most honest representation of how I communicate. Most of this stems from my father and reminds me of where I come from. These qualities are part of me because they are a part of him.

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