Father's Day: Things I've Learned from My Dad
Dad and daughter relationships are complicated. In some ways, I feel like my Dad knows with the most painful accuracy what kind of person I am, and sometimes I feel like we’re on totally different planets. My dad is talented and knowledgeable about the kind of things I know nothing about: accounting, car fixing, general knowledge of directions. Here’s a list of things I’ve learned from my Dad in the past 25 years that I treasure most.
1. Always stand up for yourself with a well thought out argument.
Even if you can’t win. When I was a kid I had a LOT of feelings but I was actually pretty anxious and quiet. My dad always encouraged me to argue my point, even against my parents. I literally never changed anyone’s minds, especially not my parents, but figuring this out taught me to be precocious. There’s a specific example in mind where I wanted to wear a T-Shirt from the movie Juno to middle school and my parents thought it a little inappropriate. I argued for that tee shirt until my face was blue. I never did win, of course. But I tried, and I feel like that’s the important part.
2. Have your head on straight and have confidence in your skills.
When my dad wasn’t playing soccer, he was coaching soccer. He coached me when I was a kid, and when I informed him I actually really hated it, he coached local teams in the area. He still does. I assumed when I gave a hard pass on my soccer career that would be the end of my coaching relationship with my dad. But when I started traveling for horse shows when I was a teenager, I quickly learned that there was no one I wanted to go with me other than my dad. He was always calm and collected, even when I was literally hurdling towards the ground from great heights. He saw me win big and fail miserably. The thing that I remember treasuring most about these times is when he would quietly assure me that I knew what I was doing and to trust my gut. These horse show memories are some of my favorite with my dad.
3. Flat chicken wings are better than drums.
4. How to drive (even though my skills are not a good reflection of his teaching.)
My mom was, how you say… not very good at teaching me how to drive. I greatly appreciated the number of hours spent coddling me off of side roads and on to the highway. I'm not what the kids would call a "good" driver, but boy let me tell you I don't think I ever would have been able to drive anything without my dad.
5. Adopt the sad plants that won’t sell, give them love and tenderness, soon you’ll have a beautiful garden.
6. A family is thick and full of complex and beautiful love. It’s difficult and complicated but the people who know you better than anyone else are always the place we feel most at home.
The Rockcastle clan is an absolutely bizarre bunch. My dad has 5 siblings and I have none, so I learned how to have a "big" family from my dad. They fight and they love harder than any other group of people I've ever seen in my life and I see myself in so many of them. I feel like you don't really understand that Game of Thrones style house loyalty until you have a big family.