My dad has taught me a lot of things -- how to ice skate, sink a foul shot, and win at cribbage. He showed me how to check my oil, shuck an oyster, and mow the lawn. He told me not to go skiing during basketball season (you'll break your leg and miss the whole thing), not to drink orange juice out of the container, and not to talk with my mouth full. He made it clear that girls could do anything that boys could -- except maybe pee standing up.
But there are some bigger life lessons I learned from my father over the years. Important, invaluable things -- some of which might be seemingly simple, but that have helped me get through bigger, analogous situations.
This Father's Day 2011, I thought I'd share some of those things with you.
- Safety pin your socks together before you wash them and you'll never lose one in the dryer.
- If you eat a piece of cake sliver by sliver, it has less calories than if you just cut one big piece and eat it.
- Brush your teeth before you go to bed.
- When your car stalls -- breaks down, won't start-- no matter how many times you try, it will start as soon as your Dad shows up (in the middle of the night or a rainstorm or a Bruins playoff game) as if nothing was ever wrong with it.
- If you want to be good at something, practice every single day.
- When it snows, shovel at least every hour. Your walkways and driveway will be clear and it's a lot easier to do a few inches at a time than it is to shovel 3 feet of snow at once.
- The secret to making the best pasta fazool you've ever eaten is to have your dad make it because even when you follow the exact same recipe, it just won't taste the same.
- If a restaurant doesn't have the condiments you like -- horseradish for your steak, for instance -- bring your own. You should eat your meal the way you like it even when your daughter hides under the table, dying of embarrassment.
- Never swear in front of your kids -- even when they're not kids anymore. They'll admire and respect you for it.
- You can spend every day for 30 years cleaning out your garage, and it will never get clean.
- Save mementos from your kid's childhood -- the pillow she made you, the trophies she won, her favorite doll. all her Nancy Drew books. She might leave them all behind when she grows up, but she'll be touched to see them all again someday.
- Shop at LL Bean only if you want to pay $60 for a $10 shirt.
- When you're at Boston Garden for the 7th game of the NBA championship, offer to buy a Lakers fan a beer. It's okay to be friends with people who aren't on your side.
- When you have to stop short in the car always reach over and put your arm in front of daughter to "save her life." She'll love you for it.
- Work, work, work and work some more. Be your own person, make your own money. You'll always have what it takes to support yourself and never have to depend on anyone else.
- Life goes by fast -- or as my dad says, chicken today, feathers tomorrow" -- enjoy every minute.
What did your dad teach you?
Image via Jim, the Photographer/Flickr