Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Not your typical Wednesday post: It's my Dad's birthday!


My father never had a son. However, he was “blessed” with two girls who brought joy and sunshine and warmth to his heart every day. Also, I put “blessed” in quotation marks because I’m pretty sure that there was a decade (or more) where “blessed” wasn’t so much what he felt like and “tortured” was more appropriate.

However, for the sake of today’s post, let’s go with blessed.

Let's cut to the chase:
Hair needed to be
one of my priorities. 
But growing up, I always sort of felt like my dad’s hybrid son. I mean, I was wearing my mom’s makeup and dressing up in her high heels and gowns, but I was quick to scuff those shoes and tear that dress as I made my way out to the driveway to the basketball hoop where I could practice being the next WNBA star.

Or, you know, not lose every single game of HORSE.

I mean, let’s get real. My dad lives firmly within reality and noticed quickly that my air balls and concern over what my hair looked like meant that, just perhaps, professional athletics were not in my future. 

Nonetheless, we’d spend hours out there talking, laughing, learning. And then I’d go out into the garage and watch him do various things with tools on the car. And then I’d watch him do various things with tools around the house. And then, one time, I got to watch him do various things with tools in the bathroom, which lead to me hearing the F word for the first time ever and confirming that, yes, there are moments in life where the only appropriate thing to do is scream profanities until someone takes the cabinet door off of your foot.

The lessons came in a variety of shapes and sizes.

But one thing I realized as I got older, was that my dad raised both my sister and me to be more than strong women. He raised us to never question whether being a woman was something that anyone would consider "less than." 

I never asked my dad if he wanted a son, and honestly, he is way too forthcoming with the truth for me to risk that answer. But there's a part of me that knows that it honestly never mattered to him. Because just as he could've been throwing the ball around with his son in the backyard, he threw the ball around in the backyard with me on countless summer nights.

Sidebar: One of those summer nights may or may not have ended with me, a split lip, a Band-Aid, and, I'm guessing, a couple of Tylenol. Also, if any of you question the validity of this story, just take a look at the scar above my lip next time we chat. I have pointed to it in an attempt to guilt my dad on any number of occasions which, in a shocking turn of events, has never worked. 

But I never thought that being a girl meant that I couldn’t compete alongside the boys, whether it be in sports or academics. Nor did I think that being a girl meant that I shouldn't have a voice, or that being a girl meant that I couldn’t be funny. And I never thought that being a girl meant that I couldn’t go to college and become anything I set my mind to. I mean, I think it became clear from a pretty early age that neither my sister nor I were to follow in my dad’s footsteps to West Point. But that had nothing to do with our chromosomes and everything to do with the fact that I saw West Point as a place I wanted to visit to check out the cute guys in uniform and my sister often fought against conformity.

Eh, you can’t win ‘em all, dad.

But I think this is one of the greatest lessons my dad could’ve taught me, and he taught it by example. Because I knew that I could go out and run track, play basketball, and get dirty, then come back to the house, curl up into a ball of emotions and pain, and ask my dad to go out on an emergency tampon run.

Dad: “The ones in the pink box, right?”

He accepted that mission every time.

However, it’s not as if my dad was out there burning bras or teaching us about Gloria Steinem. If anything, I think he was a pretty traditional guy when it came to a lot of things. But that’s what makes him one of my greatest role models, alongside my mom. He didn’t have to tell me that being a girl was something to be proud of, or that I was equal to the boys and could aspire to do and be anything that I wanted. He simply showed me all that was possible. 

And to this day, he's the one I call to talk to about baseball, basketball, books, movies, my career, and, of course, boys. (But don't worry, CB, he's annoyingly on your side.)

So while I know there are still moments that he must look at me and wonder how on earth I’m the spawn of him, I hope that he can also see that, without a doubt, I most certainly am.

It’s your birthday today, dad, so jump up and down (like I know you will), shout it from the rooftops, and know that I - alongside the whole blogosphere - am wishing you the happiest of days today.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD!






8 comments:

  1. Happy birthday Becky's dad!! What a lovely tribute!

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    1. Thank you! (said in the voice of Becky's dad). I'm glad you liked it!

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  2. Happy birthday Becky's dad! Thank you for raising a great person who keeps me entertained.

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  3. This is so sweet!! Happy birthday Becky's dad!! He is obviously an awesome man because he taught you humor and the ability to laugh at yourself.

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    1. That's so nice of you to say, thank you!!

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  4. Your dad sounds freaking awesome. :) Happy belated birthday, Becky's Dad!!

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    1. You are, in fact, correct. He's freaking awesome! :-)

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