Monday, June 16, 2014

Twelve Things I Learned From My Dad

I'm a mom. I know the drill. Moms get the shaft a lot. But here's the thing: what I've learned from my mom could never fit in a top ten (er, twelve) list. Because, everything. I've learned how to be a person, a friend, a mom, a daughter. My mom celebrates my successes with appropriate enthusiasm, and my failures with lip-service justifications (as she should).

That being said, there are some things in life that could only come from a dad. Whether it's baiting a hook or how to build a fire, how to hunt for night crawlers or shoot a basket. Or maybe its the little life lessons that as a teen made me stomp out of the house, slamming the door behind me. As an adult, I find them invaluable.

1. If someone asks you to do something, don't just do it. Do it with a smile.
2. Leave everything a little better than you found it.
3. The best parts of life are outside. And they're free.
4. Do a good job. Always.
5. Absolutely everything around you is science.
6. You can golf for free if you don't get caught*.
7. Be adaptable.
8. If you catch a fish, throw it back.
9. If you don't catch a fish, but you spent the day in the water, then it doesn't matter.
10. There are three golf balls on the moon.
11. Play fair. But don't expect everyone else to.
12. One of the most important things in life is properly set table.

I watch my husband with my girls, instilling in them his own brand of wisdom. How to swing a bat, catch a ball, plant a flower. Lessons that his own father, my kind and generous father-in-law, has taught him. There will be bigger, more meaningful, messages that come later. Measure twice, cut once. Spend less than you can afford. I can't wait to see what they take with them to adulthood.

On this Father's Day weekend, I remain ever grateful to the dads in my life.

*Passed down wisdom from the late, great, much-quoted Charlie "Pop-pop" Vlossak, who only stole rounds of golf on Christmas Day.

The best advice I ever got? Stay little. I didn't follow it.