We're away for the weekend, so this post is coming to you from the Country Inn & Suites in my parents' hometown. I went to high school nearby and lived in this town for six or seven years before we moved to our current home, so visiting here does feeling like being "back home" and it's nice to hang for the weekend. It is especially nice to have reached a point where I can feel no guilt about booking a hotel - give us some space (and a pool!) and give my parents some space.
A few months I wrote a post about my dad (here) and then last week I saw a writing suggestion to write something about what you learned from your dad. Well, let me just say that my dad was full of rules and slogans growing up - all the musts and shoulds you can imagine. And while I have been a mouthy and questioning person since birth, I think I managed to quell much of it for years. But long about my 30s, I really got over all that "should" stuff. It is difficult to guilt me into much of anything now. Oh I still do a lot of the same stuff, but I do it because I want to, because I want to be part of this bigger thing called family and hometown and community - I don't do it because anyone else will look at me funny if I don't.
As for my dad, in my 30s I moved to the town where they live and saw my folks a lot. We went to the same church and sang in the same church choir. And my dad was totally naughty and disrespectful at choir rehearsal - talking and not paying attention. If I had done that in my childhood and been caught by my dad (and I was a few times), I would have been dragged out by my ear and lectured for what felt like days. And so, being the good oppositional child I was raised to be, I would turn around at choir rehearsal and hiss at him "show some respect!" and when he would complain about this or that at church I would shrug and say "you get out of it what you put into it"...and he would sputter and glare at me, but what could he say since those were his own words coming back to haunt him! Good fun, particularly since I seem to have inherited all my dad's crotchety genes!
But the Number One Life Lesson I learned from my dad is what I mentioned in the earlier post - when I had my car accident in 1985 and totalled his car: who gives a goddamn about the car, what is important is whether my loved one is OK. I joke sometimes that the only real lessons that get through to me are the ones delivered with a 2x4 like a car accident - but let's talk about a clear lesson about priorities in life. If your kids and loved ones are OK, then life is good. The rest will sort itself out.
Happy Father's Day, Dad. I am grateful every day that you is still here to hug and harass and mutter about.