Friday, March 30, 2012

I'd call this post "Sh*t My Dad Says" but that name was taken.

Six years ago my father passed away somewhat unexpectedly. He had been struggling with health issues, but what was worse is that he fought to hide them, as well. When it all got to be too much, his body just couldn't handle it anymore and we lost him at the age of 54.

I still think of him in some way every day. Sometimes I still get sad, like when I see the Little Miss with her "Paw-Paw" and wonder what it would have been like to see my own dad as a grandfather. Mostly, I receive humorous reminders of him, like when I have anxiety about a menu test at the restaurant because he drilled it into me taught me to never accept mediocrity from myself. Or when Rush Limbaugh or Don Imus say something stupid and I think about how I'd say, "See, Dad? I TOLD you they're idiots!" only to have him remind me that I've been brainwashed by the bleeding heart liberals at NPR.

Ultimately, we have to accept that we never have a say in who stays and who goes. If nothing else, I've learned that it is never too late to start making the most of your family and the life you have been given. I spent a lot of time with my head and heart clouded with disappointment and regret. Having a child has certainly helped change my perspective, as well as constantly evaluating how I view the world. That's not to say that I am never in a bad mood (just ask my husband about how I woke up this morning) or don't find things to bitch about. But when I do find myself caught in a loop of negative thinking, I remember one other important lesson my dad taught me:

Suck it up and deal.

Those might not have been his specific words, but it was the gist of anything he ever told me when I had a complaint.

"But DAD. EVERYONE makes fun of me and calls me a goody-two-shoes."

"I don't care. They won't be the ones to help you get a job. Only your grades will."

"BUT DAD! It's just a B-! Lots of kids did WAAAAY worse!"

"I don't care. You've gotten A's before. This time should have been no different. Now go study."


"You think this work I'm doing right here is fun? No. But it's what I have to do to earn a paycheck. Now go do your homework or you're grounded."

These are not exact quotations, but a pretty accurate representation of the bi-weekly argument I had with my father from 5th through 12th grade. 

The funny thing is now when my coworkers complain about what hard-asses our managers are being about the menu tests, I want to say, "Suck it up and deal. Go Study."

Now, at the age where, if I chose to, I could probably avoid taking a test ever again, I find myself seeking out challenges on purpose. I push to train at a certain pace so I can be in the front seed of a race. I received a certificate in personal training from school, but will continue to pay as I am able for additional tests and certifications. I continually subject myself to the joys of the food service industry and having my knowledge put to the test on a daily basis.

And heck, even when we win the MegaMillion jackpot, I will still challenge myself to to learn and grow.

I just might take a vacation and hang out with the cool kids, first.

Love you, Dad.

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