Today is my father’s birthday and although he’s 75, he doesn’t look his age. In fact, if it weren’t for my good friend, “Clairol”, I’d probably have more gray hair than him!
My Dad taught me a bunch of good “life lessons” and I’d like to share a couple of them with you today.
By the time I had my own car, my Dad made sure I knew how to change a tire, taught me how to add water to my battery (yeah, we don’t do that now), add water and solution to my window washer well, how to check my oil levels, and how to change the oil and oil filter. After my first filthy, dirty lesson he said, “Now you can add water to your battery and to the window washer well yourself, but I just wanted you to learn how to change the oil and filter. Now that you know how, DON’T EVER DO IT YOURSELF AGAIN! Either pay for someone to do it or have your brother, a boy friend or your future husband do it. You shouldn’t get your hands dirty or break a nail, but at least you know how.”
I loved that my Dad thought me capable enough to do the “hard and dirty” tasks, but recognized that I was “dainty” enough to not have to. The truth is, I’m not so tough, but neither am I overly “girly”. It was reassuring to know he knew that about me.
My Dad LOVES tennis, so growing up, he attempted to teach my brother and me how to play, and play well. I’ve mentioned, I’m coordinated enough, and okay at sports, but I’m not very fast and not that fond of athletics. However, my Dad stumbled upon a method that helped me to learn tennis concepts and form easier. He told me to watch Chris Evert’s and Jimmy Connors’ matches on TV and take mental “snapshots” of their form and then apply those snapshots to myself on the court. It helped, but because of my disinterest, I never became the tennis ingénue he had hoped (my brother did better and ended up playing on a college team).
Even though his “snapshot” method didn’t help launch my tennis career, it did teach me that there are many moments in life that require a “snapshot” in order to remember special moments. I applied it one morning while I was in a church all by myself before getting ready for my wedding; and later when he walked me down the aisle. I applied it each morning each one of my boys was born. I applied it on my first Mother’s day when my oldest son crawled for the first time; when my youngest lost his first tooth; when my oldest learned how to ride a bike; when my youngest passed me in height; when my oldest went to his first prom; and today, when my youngest passed his Driver’s license test. All these precious and perfectly poignant “snapshots” permanently embedded in my mind.
Dad, although we haven’t had the easiest of father-daughter relationships, I love you and appreciate the lessons you taught me. I am thankful that you have always had my best interest in mind and that you have always believed in me. Thank you for being my very first, big, tall, strong hero. Love you, Dad.
-Tessa L. Charles
-Tessa L. Charles