|BABY TALK: Here I am with my Dad |
before I turned even a year old
He and I have always had a special bond and we were very silly when I was growing up. Whether it was having singing competitions, talking baby talk, cooking together, going fishing on ungodly early mornings, or me accompanying him to work (which I loved to do as often as he would let me), I could not have asked for a better dad.
What I have come to realize after having my own kids is that my dad taught me how to be a guide to my kids. That means balancing being strict and imposing rules with having fun and levity. He was growing me into an adult, and he taught me so many valuable things that I, in turn, teach my kids.
I always knew that no matter what, he would love me unconditionally. He understood that I would have to find my own path, and take a lot of stumbles along the way. But he did not judge, hold grudges, or shame me for making different decisions than he might have made.
I now know that that's a part of being a parent -- teaching your kids, and then hoping you have given them the skills and know-how to make their own decisions. I knew that he would always be there to listen or to give advice when solicited. The lessons he taught me early on helped shape me as a woman, an adult, and a parent. To him (and my mom), I will be eternally grateful.