Sometimes when I think of my father–when I think of his twinkling eyes and the stories he’d tell and the songs he’d sing and the amazing way he had of making you feel like you could be more than you ever dreamed you could be–I laugh with the sheer joy of it.
He was only 5’6″ tall with a lifetime of living on his face and the mischievousness of a million pranks in his grin.
He was a teacher and a soccer coach and a geography whiz and a listener and an ice cream eater and a Monopoly marathoner and he could keep you on the edge of your seat with the entire history of the Revolutionary War–told with more drama and intrigue than a million dollar movie.
I asked him once for advice. I was about to be a parent and I was nervous and overwhelmed and worried I would make mistakes. I poured out my heart and told him about my fears and asked him how he learned how to be such a great dad.
He paused for a while and thought for a moment and then turned and fixed his eyes on mine with a serious look.
“Don’t worry about making mistakes,” he told me. “Because you will. You’ll make mistakes and learn from them and make a few more while you’re learning how to fix the first ones. The secret is not about making mistakes–it’s about being willing to try and try and try some more. When you are a parent it’s part of the job.”
He stopped for a moment and then laughed out loud.
“Shhh. Don’t tell your mother, but I don’t think too much about the hows and whys and whens and ifs of being a parent. I leave all that to her.”
Then he grinned at me conspiratorially and added,
“Just between you and me….
….all I really do is show up.”Continue reading