Monday, July 16, 2012

#67 He Respects My Dad

Many times when I didn't get my way as I was growing up my dad would grin and sing the Rolling Stones song, "You Can't Always Get What You Want" to me.  Then, I'd roll my eyes and try to ignore him.  

Dad, Me and our Hummers

I got many things that I wanted growing up.  Yet, there were two things I desperately wanted that I never got.  I wanted a sister and I wanted to go to work with my dad.

A sister seemed only fair.  I had an older brother and expected my next sibling to be a girl.  When it turned out to be a boy, I just knew the next (which my parents had basically written in stone would be their last child) would be a girl.

When it wasn't, I was sure my world had ended.

Who would I do hair and paint nails with?  Who would I share a bedroom with?  Who would I giggle and stay up late with?  Who would I share clothes and shoes with?  Who would I play dolls with?

I certainly could not do that with the boys.  (I'd learn later how wrong I was).

As a child I recognized no positives in being the only girl.  I was stuck in a world of G.I. Joes and caped crusaders, the pink and purple hues of Barbies a minor hum in the background of our home.  Super Mario became my game of choice and enjoyment came from watching my older brother, Justin, defeat Bowser.  Excitement came in strange forms like my dad coming home from work and surprising Justin and me with Game Boy games hidden in his shirt.

Yet, I didn't realize that I was slowly becoming the spoiled "only girl".

I got my own bedroom the minute I asked for it.  Music lessons that I begged for were arranged.  My clothing needs (and wants) were always met in extremes by both my parents and grandparents.  When I wanted a TV in my room, I got one.  (Today that seems completely irrelevant, but back then, well, things were different).

I still only saw what I did not have by being the only girl.

What I did get didn't seem quite fair.  I got earlier and stricter curfews when I began dating and was never ever allowed to go to work with my dad.  I begged and begged my dad to let me go on service calls with him, and was turned down every single time.

My dad has worked in plumbing, heating, and air conditioning his whole life.  He inherited the family business from his father.  Therefore, this is an industry I've also been around my whole life, so naturally, my curiosity growing up was always a little peaked.  It didn't help that my brothers were allowed to go to work with dad, sometimes even forced to go.  As I got older, I was always eager for ways to earn money.  Knowing that my father could pay me to work with him, but wouldn't, drove me absolutely crazy.

Something which I think my dad gained partial amusement from.

Not being allowed to work with my dad could not discourage me from sharing the same interests and wanting to be exactly like him.  In eighth grade, I fell into an "Army stage".  I was obsessed with anything camouflage and even made my dad take me to an Army/Navy store to buy authentic Army pants.  I bought shoes and pajama pants with flames on them because I knew my dad found them cool, so naturally, so did I.

It's amazing I ended up being as girly as I am today.

I'd frequently beg my dad to let me work with him, and since I knew he wouldn't I'd spend time sweeping his shop with a huge dust broom.

While I was mad that my dad wouldn't let me go to work with him, I could never deny the dedication he always displayed for his work.  I watched year in and out, in times of extreme cold, raging heat, and everything in between, as my dad never showed a moment of laziness in his work.  How he constantly was on the go, working hard, giving of his time and self for anyone in need.  I remember nights he would get a service call at 12 midnight and not return home until 2 or 3 am after hours spent in areas that left him dirty, smelly, and exhausted.  I remember countless Saturdays he would work, and occasional Sundays he would have to miss family lunch in order to help a group home that had lost their air or heat that day.

I'd say I learned a lot about the meaning of true work ethic from him.

Today I still want to be just like my dad, but I've recognized a few things.  If I had a sister, I would have had to share my father's attention with another loud mouthed, attention seeking, moody, psychotic girl.  And if my father had allowed me to work, he wouldn't have lived up to the protective role model he always had been.

I'm even more blessed because everything great about my dad I see in my husband.

And really, with my dad, that Rolling Stones song that he sang to me had a lot of truth.  I didn't always get what I thought I wanted, but I did get exactly what I needed.

Dad, Me, and Hubby on my 26th Birthday

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