8. LOVE YOU
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.
1. He has always been there.
Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.
2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.
I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.
3. He sends the cutest texts.
Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.
4. He taught me how to be brave.
When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.
5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.
My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.
6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.
Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.
7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.
Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.
8. He shows me how I should be treated.
Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.
For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!
My parents, the most important factors in shaping who I am, are a mosaic of juxtaposed perspectives, a tribute to the notion that "opposites attract." Dad once tried to explain their differences in the language of the Myers-Briggs personality inventory; his introversion versus Mom's extraversion, his thinking to her feeling, etc. Labels aside, the consequence of living with their differences was balance and an ability to place equal value on both breadth and depth in any aspect of life.
Nothing underscored competing for parental influences in our household better than the typical dinner conversation around the events of the school day. I'd usually lead with news of some test result. Mom would be quick to congratulate my good work while deflecting the conversation toward upcoming social events or some drama involving my friends. Dad preferred to discuss the specific problems I missed, even if 97% were correct.
Over time, I came to realize that Mom's seemingly dismissive attitude toward academic achievement was not meant to minimize its importance. To her, what went on in the world of human relationships beyond the classroom, was equally important. Similarly, Dad's insistence on reviewing every incorrect problem was not indicative of some ridiculously high standard of achievement. Instead, it was his way of communicating the value of always striving to be better and the importance of treating every mistake as an opportunity to learn.
Extracurriculars, like sports, were also illustrative of this household dichotomy. Mom would encourage me to join as many different activities as possible, just to give them a try. In the heart of the club spring soccer season, she'd sign me up for golf lessons, a charity 5K run, or volunteer my time to tutor a neighbor's friend. Dad cared more about mastery of specific sports. Quick to point out areas for improvement, he pushed me to excel through relentless practice and total commitment.
It was often difficult to reconcile Mom's push for diversification and Dad's push for focus, but I eventually realized that each was acting in what they perceived to be in my best interests. Mom wasn't tired of sitting on wet, soggy sidelines, she wanted me to have a broad range of experiences so I could find my true passions. Her mantra was that you couldn't know unless you try. Dad didn't push me to constantly practice because he expected me to get a soccer scholarship. Rather he wanted me to understand the work that it takes to achieve excellence.
Much to Dad's vexation, Mom often scheduled activities that interfered with practice times. We'd routinely go on vacation a few days early or to take a night off to see a play. Summer vacations were sacred and trumped any other commitments. The day school was out we would leave for the east coast and not return until just before school began. Lengthy absences meant leaving all commitments behind, including summer training seasons.
Dad never overtly opposed Mom's summer plans, but I knew he was troubled by them. Excellence required a commitment that was not compatible with being absent for several months each year. Mom was not against sports or the commitment they required, but she placed supreme value on the exposures and experiences that a summer of travel could offer.
Over time, I learned to live fully in each of my parents' worlds. When it was time to study or practice, I gave everything I had. Equally, I joined Mom's adventures, with eager eyes and a full heart. I learned that there is not just one way to be raised or a single way to approach a situation. I was never made to choose between competing views in my household, I was challenged to fully embrace each. My parents' perspectives are less conflicting and more complimentary.
They are two halves of the person I aspire to be — a thoughtful person, committed to excellence in each of her areas of passion, who is hungry to build upon the extensive base of experiences that she has acquired to date. I hope to be as deep as I am broad, to be extremely flexible, and to be comfortable in the gray areas between the black and the white. Like my Mom, I engage the world around me and am fed by its energy, and like my Dad, I am introspective and fully at home in the world of ideas.