I come from a long line of cheapskate do it yourselfers who believe in laughing lots and always kissing your loved ones good bye. My Dad is the rightful heir of many hand-me down tools and life lessons. As one of his four kids I’m the recipient of the hand-me down wisdom that comes with these worn instruments, calloused hands and seasoned heart.
Here are some of the things I’ve learned from the first man who ever loved me….
1. A rope is an apt substitute for a broken belt, for months in fact!
2. Grow your own food. Even if it’s an entire plot of corn, onions and watermelon, it’s yours
3. Always help your neighbour, even when it puts you out
4. A teenage girl’s wardrobe can be fully stocked by bag sales at the local thrift store. Yes I looked like a colour-blind elderly hippy for my formative years
5. How to throw a football…..how to TRY to throw a football…..how to CHEER on people that can throw a football
7. That providing for your family sometimes means blood, sweat and tears and being temporarily unpopular with the hormone-laden crowd. But you do it anyway
8. I (any woman) can do anything I want to do. Usually followed with a foot-in-the-mouth caveat that in my case this may not include sports (see point 5)
9. Work hard, stay active but take time to relax and enjoy the sun
10. Sideburns never go out of style. Nor does the wagon-wheeled themed dress shirt he wore for all four of his kid’s graduations, spanning over eight years
11. The family who brushes their teeth together stays together
12. Save your money, unless there is a sale on canned meat at the dollar store – then splurge, you could eat for a week for five dollars!
13. Don’t try to be the best, just do your best
14. How to play poker
15. Bandaids are for fancy folk who want to waste their money. Nobody is above paper towel and electric tape
16. If you are an unfortunate parent of car-sick kids invest in ziploc bags and lead foot it. Dad won’t stop but the kids will learn the life skill of puking and rallying.
17. A father can maintain his cool guy image at the beach by sporting sideburns, short swim trunks and having his kids call him Uncle
18. Men (dads, brothers, husbands) don’t always get mushy or say the right things. They show us their love with their actions
19. No matter what town I live in the weather is warmer at ‘home’. As confirmed by his regular calls to compare (brag about) ambient temperatures. I like to think it’s an excuse to say hi
20. Haircuts and perms are expensive for three girls and a boy. But wielding some scissors and home perm kit doesn’t make parents qualified hair stylists. It does however ensure a drastic reduction in the dating potential of your daughters
21. Being truthful is imperative, but only worthy of words when you have the right motives
22. When Mom is out of town the kids can survive the weekend on bags of apples, discount meat and Disney movies
23. When you learn your teenage daughter is sneaking out you can catch her by nailing her window shut
24. A dad can teach his daughter math so well that she gets to do Math 11 twice. Look Dad! Your tutoring made me nine-eights smarter!
25. Question everything
26. Shaggy is an epic artist spanning all generational boundaries
27. Always be reading, always be learning
28. The only toys a kid really needs are a sprinkler and an old tire
29. When teenage sisters are fighting, a Dad may assume they will be open to the advice “you are mad because you want to be mad”. This is not a safe assumption
30. Love, forgiveness, support and perseverance is what makes us a strong family, not normalcy