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My Dad

On Mother’s Day, I wrote about the women who have been most influential in my life. Since today was Father’s Day, my plan was to do the same, and share a little bit about how my dad and step-dad have helped me become who I am today. Instead of sharing anything about my step-dad on this post, I’m just going to focus on my dad.

My Dad

For some reason, I’ve never been super close to my dad, although he has always been there for me when I’ve needed him. And I was never the stereotypical “Daddy’s little girl,” even though he doted on me and has always been very protective, as I was the youngest for the first 10 years of my life.

When I was much younger, he was always afraid that something bad would happen, so it seemed like us kids were always under constant supervision. Part of the reason for this could have been that my brother was a little hellion growing up and seemed like he could find trouble faster than the speed of light.

Something I’ve regretted more recently is not being as close as I could have been with my dad, especially after he and my mom got divorced. At the time, I was a freshman in high school, and since I was fairly busy with extracurricular activities, over time I just got to the point where we didn’t really have any contact outside of visits for holidays. After high school and beyond, it’s just been my own selfishness of my time that has kept me from reaching out and trying to get to know him better.

A couple of ways my dad has always been there for me include the story of how I learned to drive, and the time he rescued me from a potentially dangerous situation one night when I was in college.

Like most teenagers, I was very anxious to finally have that freedom of having my license and being able to go wherever I wanted. As soon as I received my learner’s permit, I started pestering my mom to take me out and let me hit the road. The first weekend, she was busy with work, so my dad stepped up and took me out to an abandoned parking lot nearby to show me the ropes.

Being behind the wheel and in control for the first time was quite exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time.

It was terrifying mostly because he kept making up imaginary obstacles I needed to avoid while just learning how to get the car going in a straight line. I ended up getting pretty upset, because the parking lot was just a bunch of yellow lines and torn up asphalt, so being told about the existence of invisible stop signs and miscellaneous invisible road hazards only he could see confused the snot out of me.

After that first lesson, I resolved to never let him be my driving teacher again, which was probably a bad idea since I learned to drive like my mom, who is notorious for her lead foot and sudden braking. I think if I had stuck it out and let him be my teacher, I would have turned out as a much better driver.

Another time when he really stepped up and saved the day was during the summer of my second year of college. I was returning home from a late flight, and while en route to the train stop where my car was parked, I learned that my train was going out of service for the night and I would have to wait about 45 minutes for the next train to take me on to my destination.

If you are unfamiliar with the Metro system in St. Louis, it’s similar to other mass transit light rail passenger trains, like the EL in Chicago, where the trains connect to several popular destinations, and have stops with parking along the way. Part of the route between the airport and the stop where I had left my car isn’t the safest, and the stop where the train was ending for the night was right smack dab in the middle of one of the most dangerous areas.

Not wanting to hang out in a rough neighborhood any longer than necessary, I frantically started making calls to find a ride to save me from waiting at the scary place. My dad was the first person who answered, and by the time my train reached its ending point, he was waiting in the parking lot and ready to drive me the rest of the way to my car. To this day, I’m still not sure how fast he must have driven to get there so quickly, but I’ll always be grateful that he was there to rescue me that night.

Going forward, my goal is to reach out to my dad and start being a better daughter. I know that even though we haven’t spent as much time together as we should, he probably still has some valuable advice or life lessons he would be willing to share with me. Maybe we’ll never get to the point of close father-daughter relationship that some dads and daughters have, but I’ll never know until I try.

So, here’s to you Dad! Thanks for being there at times when I’ve needed you most, even when I didn’t always deserve it.  Happy Father’s Day!

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