Lessons, memories, advice from my dad
By TRISHA PHELPS
Mt. Pleasant News
With Father’s Day this weekend, I have done a bit of reflecting on the different lessons I have learned from the various men in my life, especially those lessons learned from my dad.
I hate to say it, but until this most recent stage of my life (attempting to help raise my best friend’s daughter and preparing to spend the rest of my life with Scott) I haven’t really appreciated my dad and the way he has shaped who I am.
The other night I was sitting in my car, trying to figure out how to handle what I thought was a pretty tough situation. As a girl, my first thought was “what would my mother do?” when I couldn’t figure out a rational answer to that question in my head, I decided to go with my gut and do what I thought was the best way to handle the situation. After getting everything figured out and running smoothly, I felt so proud of myself for being an individual, and then I started laughing. It hit me that they way I handled the situation was exactly what I think my dad would have done if he was in my position.
I didn’t realize that I paid nearly that much attention to him growing up. I’m sure he doesn’t think I paid any attention to him, especially during those teenage years.
While I count myself blessed to have a lot of great and caring men in my life; my dad, grandpa, best friend, big brother and future father-in-law, my dad is easily the one with the biggest impact.
Now that I am a pseudo-parent (that seems to be the most accurate title for me at this point, though I did get a Mother’s Day gift and it was adorable), I am beginning to understand how much patience it takes to be involved in a child’s life. A lot of times I feel guilty for not being around more, and sometimes consider going back to school to become a teacher simply to have more time to spend with my family (and the family I hope to have with Scott someday). Then I remember that my dad worked —and still works — long hours all the time, and yet I still have a lot of very fond memories and some serious life lessons that I learned from him.
I remember my dad teaching me to throw a baseball, or attempting to. Mostly I remember me being frustrated that he wanted to teach me things like proper form and grip and I was more concerned with doing anything I could to not do what he wanted. A very patient man, indeed.
My dad also very much instilled in me the drive to be in service to others. Not only was my dad a firefighter when I was little, but the neighborhood I grew up in was filled with mostly elderly couples. My dad was their go-to guy when they needed anything. I never remember him turning any of them down or accepting any sort of payment, except for the occasional pie made by a neighbor — and you just don’t turn down homemade pies.
My favorite quality of my dad’s though, is his ability to love. When I first brought my best friend’s daughter home to meet my parents, I wasn’t quite sure what the reaction would be as this was a situation I had never been in before. I watched my tough guy dad scoop a shy five-year-old girl into his arms and make sure she knew she was welcome in our family. She now calls my dad Grandpa and he is one of her favorite people in the world.
My dad’s one bit of parenting advice to me, “just make sure she knows she is loved.”