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Memories of My Father

Growing up, it was often said how much I was just like my father. We had similar temperaments and interests. We could finish each other’s sentences, because we thought the same way. There was no denying that I was definitely a Daddy’s girl. As I am now into my forties, and a mother of three children myself, looking back I can appreciate everything my father did raising me. As we celebrate Father’s Day today, here are five memories from my own dad. Characteristics and traits I hope to emulate raising my own children.

We Got Dirty Together

One of my fondest memories as a kid was climbing underneath the car with my dad and helping him work. Whether it was changing the oil or fixing a broke part – in our house, you didn’t call a mechanic, we were the mechanic. By the end, I would be covered in grease and oil. Clothes stained, hair sticking out in every direction, and dirt covering every inch from crawling on the garage floor. I learned to not be afraid to try things yourself. To get dirty. To take stuff apart and figure out how it works.

We Always Ate Dinner Together

At one point in my childhood, my dad was working two jobs and going to school full time. He was busy. Really busy. But he never missed dinner with the family. I don’t know how he and my mom worked that, but dad was always at the table when we ate dinner. We talked about our days, and maybe sometimes we ate in a hurry, but he was always there. Every night. A constant presence.

He Made Me Tough

When I was in 3rd grade, I rolled my ankle playing baseball in the backyard. My dad iced it, wrapped it in an ace bandage, and sent me to school the next morning. When the school nurse saw me hobbling, she called my dad (who was also a teacher at the school), and told him to get me to the doctor. Turns out, my ankle was broken and I spent the next 10 weeks in a cast. His “walk it off” attitude was pretty much the norm for every crash and accident we faced. There’s a lot I can take today, because I learned how to get up, brush myself off, and just keep going.

He Makes Friends Everywhere

He met a lady that lived around the block from him, while they were each 3000 miles away from their homes. He figured out that a friend I’d had for over a year, was actually my distant cousin and her uncle and he grew up together as kids. After I spent weeks in the hospital in college, he was on a first name basis with all the nursing and administrative staff; so much so that when I had a car accident a year later, everyone at that hospital still remembered and asked about him. It doesn’t matter where we are or who we’re with, he can connect with anyone and become instant friends. This ability has come in handy for me, as I’ve now had to make five moves cross-country with my husband.

He’s Generous – In Time and Money

My parents chose careers that would never make them wealthy – education and ministry. But they still managed to consistently give to church and charity. At one point, I remember they took over a family member’s car payment for them, even when they didn’t have any disposable income themselves. My dad has always volunteered. He serves in the church, he serves in the schools, he serves in his community. Semi-retired as he is now, he travels the world volunteering at orphanages, leading mission trips, and teaching teachers at schools in third-world countries how to be more effective in their classrooms. And he’s never said no to helping me. He’s the first to step up and offer to help when my family is in need of extra hands. And he craves no recognition for it. He serves because he loves to do it.

And lastly, above all else, my father loves my mother. For forty-four years and counting, they have been a team. Through good times and bad, he was always proud to be her husband. My father laughs with, he loves, and he honors my mom, every day.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

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