I’ve been having a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that I’m now 44. Not because I’m old, but rather, because I’m not that old, yet I have now officially lived longer than my dad did. It’s just weird, because I certainly don’t feel as old as he seemed to me, and it’s hard to believe he was gone before he was my age. It’s a reminder to me to not take a single day of my life, or a single loved one, for granted.
One of the things I miss the most about my dad is his goofy sense of humor. He was not beyond acting like a fool to make people laugh, and he had a way of making even the most boring things fun. My dad also liked to play harmless practical jokes on his friends and family. For instance, he was a talented cake decorator, so he would make cakes for special occasions, only sometimes instead of actually using cake, he would put frosting on shaped cardboard or styrofoam. It would be so beautiful that the victim would have no idea it wasn’t really cake, until they tried to cut it!
My dad always brought out the silly side in me, and my sisters and I had a lot of fun times with him. He played games with us, took us to concerts, dressed up for Halloween. He could get me to do things that I wouldn’t normally do, just so I could see him smile. One time when I was 16 and my dad and I were at the mall together, he told me he would give me a dollar if I would go sit on Santa’s lap. Most 16 year-old girls that I knew wouldn’t have even gone to the mall with their dorky dad, let alone risked the public humiliation of being seen with Santa, and I was super shy…but I earned a dollar that day!
I learned a lot of things from my dad, and as a military man he could be very stern and serious when he needed to be, but one of the lessons I cherish the most is that he taught me to not be afraid to make a fool of myself in the interest of having fun. I think that’s actually part of the reason I’ve survived in martial arts as long as I have. I’m willing to fail, and most of the time I’m able to laugh at my own ineptitude and enjoy myself, instead of being embarrassed, and I know my dad would be proud.