Father's Day just passed, and I hope that you and Mom are sitting on the back porch drinking some of the wine I got you while you read this, with Finn assuredly at your feet.
I know we don't agree on much. You're a Republican, I'm a Democrat; I like hard ciders more than beer, and you would rather drink urine than hard cider. There's a lot more, but nothing else is coming to mind right now. I'm sure that when I think of them I will definitely bring it to your attention.
However, I most definitely have your personality. I rarely back down easily; I stand strong for what I believe and will never let someone walk over me. Now, Mom might say that having these parts of your personality isn't the best, I'm a much better person for it.
I grew up with the mindset of always being better than my brother in anything and everything, but especially in sports. I know he surpassed me in some athletic areas, but I will never give up the fight that I beat him in the softball/baseball area.
Growing up, it was instilled in us that baseball was the best sport, and anyone who thought otherwise did not remain friends for long. I grew up decorating our basement, which is now basically a shrine to the Cincinnati Reds, and it's pretty cool to say the least. Going to Reds games in the summer was a given, and skipping school to go to Opening Day each spring was natural. By the time I was 12, I believe I hit my 500 games mark and made all the boys in school very jealous (it was a high point in the middle school years).
Now you wouldn't just let the love of baseball stop with going to games; you made sure that I was groomed to play every part of the field. I do remember one time when I was around 8 when I cried because I "didn't want to play softball" during the summer, but you were going to make sure I did. I am so incredibly grateful that you didn't give into my temper tantrum because now, at age 21 and concussed-out of sports, I wish that I could keep playing.
Those extra nights going out to the field and running me ragged until I finally got that pitch down or could effectively place my hits where I wanted put in a kind of work ethic I still use today. I wasn't playing the game for anyone else, I wasn't getting paid, I wasn't really getting anything financially out of it, but I gave it my 100 percent. Even now, as I work jobs for the things that I want to do for less than optimal pay, I put in 100 percent because that is how you get the most out of it, and you will never know what you get out of something unless you put that in.
This thought process is what drove me to try and become an engineer before realizing that that was not me, and what drove me to pursue majors where I would have to work much harder within the job market. This work ethic is why I made articles and PowerPoints to convince you to let me get my own dog, change my majors or even let me re-decorate my room.
I fight you tooth and nail on some topics because it's what I believe in, and you don't give in either. Neither of us ever will give in to one another, but we can discuss (and fight) in a way that still is beneficial and not hurtful (most of the time at least). Politics is a wild topic in our house and one that Mom would wish we would stay away from more often, but as my life is surrounded by politics, it's hard to escape.
Even if we fight, we can always bring out a beer (or hard cider) and relax listening to some Steely Dan watching storms roll on by.
You and Mom both instilled in me the importance of family and would never let me skip family events even if I threw a temper tantrum because I was just too tired to go. Even now while our family gets harder to get together, I still go to all the events I can to make sure that I see the family from other places that only can make it occasionally.
I will always hold dear that I have been the only one to get you drunk in a dorm room, as it truly is a right of passage whether or not you actually lived in dorms or not. I will always remember that you were the one that OK'd me getting Finn first while Mom was hesitant (and I will never let her forget it).
So while I'm gone and am growing up, never forget that even if we weren't the closest when I was young, you definitely had an impact on my life, and I am better off because of it.