“It’s only when you grow up, and step back from him, or leave him for your own career and your own home — it’s only then that you can measure his greatness and fully appreciate it. Pride reinforces love.” Margaret Truman.
The quote doesn’t sound like it’s about fathers, but I swear I found it on a father-daughter quote page. Bear with me.
I’m not sure that anyone actually knows this, but I’m always extra excited and thankful on my dad’s birthday. My dad had a heart attack at a young age, and what’s weird is that I remember bits of pieces of the experience. Not a lot, mind you, given the age that I was. But in some ways it’s shaped my passion for public health and chronic disease prevention and management.
Even when I was young I knew I was lucky. After his heart attack, things were different. Despite a career that’s known for insane work hours (he’s the reason I’m defensive with lawyer jokes since he’s nothing like the stereotypical attorney), he was always home in time for family dinner each night, rarely missed a softball or volleyball game and usually gave us first dibs on tickets to events (like hockey games!). I probably don’t even know half of the amazing things he’s accomplished in his career, but I can attest to the fact that as a dad, he’s top notch.
I don’t know that my dad (or my mom, for that matter!) get enough credit for all they’ve done. To say my sisters and I are a handful is an understatement. We’re independent, stubborn, sarcastic, loud and aren’t afraid to speak our mind (I promise we also have good qualities, too). Even when we’re all home now, there’s barely a moment of silence in the house (but the parents secretly enjoy it, although that was from a few years ago…).
There’s not a doubt in my mind that we’re the women we are because of them. We always have been and always will be readers, travelers, do-gooders and dog lovers who value family and education. Not a bad combination if you ask me. Both my parents have instilled strong values in us, and the older I get, the more I appreciate it. And they’ve always encouraged us to embrace who we are. All my crazy life chats and freak-out moments over life decisions? Guess who got to attend college tours (upwards of a dozen…) and got frantic emails when I was thinking about dropping my journalism major (the very thing I’d gone to the college for) to pursue a political science degree? Even if we don’t see eye to eye, I know he and my mom will always be the first to support me in whatever I do.
Needless to say, my dad’s set a high bar for men in my life. He’s the most intelligent person I know, and while he tends to be a man of few words, when he speaks, you listen. There are a million and one reasons to love my dad, but mostly I love that his family is his priority. We always came first and always will.
I’m a lucky daughter, and I’m always reminded of that on my dad’s birthday. Happy birthday Papa G!