The fact is, there is no way a single blog post could encapsulate my relationship with my dad. It just won’t happen, so I’m not even going to try. Even an entire blog about it would probably be woefully inadequate.
My dad and I have the kind of relationship that brought tears to our eyes during the Father/Bride dance at my wedding…in fact, it brought cascades of tears rolling down my cheeks, and everyone else’s. Even the caterer was crying! All those emotions can’t be written, not truly.
But it’s Father’s Day, and I want to share just a little something that sticks with me each and every day.
I am my father’s daughter. I have his skin, his hair, his height, his intense and introverted personality. I have his love of the outdoors and his joy of service. But I also have a lot of things from my dad that aren’t genetic. I have nuggets of wisdom and insight that he began instilling in me before I even remember.
There was one little, seemingly insignificant moment that has literally changed my life.
Before you can understand the impact that two little sentences have had, you first have to understand that while I am a writer by trade, I cannot spell to save my life.
I’m terrible at memorizing. In fact, I managed to make it all the way through elementary school, middle school, high school, college, and graduate school without EVER memorizing my multiplication tables. So spelling? Not so much.
I was in that “special” spelling group. You know, where we were tested on 10 words Wednesday and the other 10 on Friday because 20 words all at once was too much.
I remember even at a very young age, perhaps especially at a young age, getting so dang frustrated with myself because I. Just. Couldn’t. Do. It. We were doing homework at the kitchen table, and I was so close to bursting into tears.
That’s when my dad said something I’ll never forget. He looked me right in the eye and said, “You can spell anything.” He said it with such certainty, such authority. “You just spell phonetically,” he explained.
Of course, I had no idea what “phonetically” meant, but it was a big word. And big words were important.
Those two little sentences changed my life.
Because I didn’t just hear, “You can spell anything.” I heard, “You can DO anything.” I didn’t know what phonetics were, but I heard my dad tell me that I do things MY way. I do things different. And that’s okay.
Even today, when I face new challenges, I think of that instance. When I have a new challenge and I’m not sure I’m up to it, I remember that I can do anything! And I might not do it “perfectly” to someone else’s standards. But I do it my way. And if that’s perfect enough for my dad, it’s perfect enough for me.