Whether we want to admit it or not, much of who we are comes from our parents. In both their positive and negative characteristics, I see myself in all three of my children, and I see both of my parents in me. Without the influence, good, bad or ugly of the people who raise us, we likely would not be the same person. Do I like everything about me? No, but I am who I am and frankly, I think I’m pretty okay. Well, most days anyhow.
Some folks are turned off by my refusal to budge when I know I’m right, by the fact that I have an answer for everything, by my extreme attention to detail and my uber organized/always prepared self. To those people I would say, “Have you met my father?” “Chip off the old block,” I would say, and if you were to ask, he would respond in kind.
My father is a retired United States Air Force loadmaster; he loaded cargo on airplanes, so basically he made a career of being organized. You cannot transport equipment like helicopters, jeeps and trucks on an airplane without that skill. The man can pack ten huge suitcases into the trunk of a Corvette without breaking a sweat. Okay, okay, the Texas heat might cause him a small amount of perspiration, but sweat or not, I guarantee those bags are going inside that trunk!!
While the mantra, “If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try, Try Again” rings true, my father taught me to always put forth my best effort and therefore get it right the first time. He is not a man tolerant of a halfway attempt, and that “get it done right” perspective he passed along has served me well during my lifetime.
Some of my most cherished childhood possessions were the things he made with his bare hands; the two story wooden dollhouse complete with furniture, a cradle for my baby doll, the squiggly worm wall hanging with hooks for purses and belts, and a wooden toy box so big my sister and I liked to empty out all of the toys and climb inside.
My sister and I each inherited child-sized wooden rocking chairs that once belonged to our parents. My father lovingly refurbished them for his girls. Those rockers along with the other things he made were shared with our children. Now that he’s retired I keep waiting for him to start making things again (HINT, HINT).
Growing up on the East Coast, the ability to swim and a love of seafood are important. I love swimming so much that I like to think myself part mermaid, but the truth is my ability to swim can be attributed to my father patiently spending time to teach me that skill when I was a little girl.
Ahhh oysters, there are a lot of oyster haters in this world, but thanks to my father I ain’t one of ‘em! Oysters, primarily raw, but sometimes steamed were a staple in our home. It wasn’t just oysters we ate either, there was lobster, clams, and scallops too. Once, he brought home live lobsters from Nova Scotia. There may have been a disturbance in the kitchen when one tried to get away.
While I wasn’t a complete procrastinator as a teen-ager, I did tend to put things off much longer than my father would have liked, but somewhere along the way something shifted and I became a master at, “doing it now.” Thanks to my father, “Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today” has become a way of life for me. It actually drives me nuts when circumstances conspire against me & I cannot accomplish the things that need to be done in the time frame I would like.
My father and I don’t always agree, but that is the beauty of family, we love in spite of our differences and today on his birthday I wanted to take the opportunity to thank him for the things he’s given me.
Happy Birthday Dad. I love you.
Until Next Time,
Becky J Miller