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He's a smart guy: former chemist,
computer scientist, tri-lingual. He finds no interest in things he can't
master, from playing guitar to "captaining" a sailboat. (I'm not sure how one
He is constitutionally incapable of
half-assing. And because of this, my father poured himself into being a dad.
He's a sports guy. On top of
previously mentioned credentials, he also has a master's degree in athletic management.
He followed the Giants to San Francisco and laments the destruction of
Baseball is important to him. He was pretty good at it. And I'm guessing he had some dreams of bringing his son to games. But then he had two daughters.
So instead, he taught me and many of my
friends how to throw like girls.
Any moment was an opportunity to teach. "Let's talk about saving for retirement," he once said to a 10-year-old me, as we waited for our plane to take off.
When our high school had no varsity softball program, my father created one, became its commissioner and organized
international tournaments to enable us to play.
He taught me to drive a stick shift
by letting me follow him in first and second gear as he jogged.
Any moment was an opportunity to
teach. "Let's talk about saving for retirement," he once said to a
10-year-old me, as we waited for our plane to take off.
His hobbies were our hobbies. I learned to ski at 3, with him holding onto me as I glided along with my skis between
his. He is why I picked up long-distance running.
Other things—like bridge or the guitar—we weren't so quick
to pick up, but he did try.
On more than one occasion, I crashed his cars, broke his
televisions and kept him up nervously until I came home at night, but he never
made me feel like I was capable of anything less than great things.
When my husband and I learned we were
having a daughter, we were given a book about how to be a dad to girls. It had
a lot of good information—how to be a role model for her future partner, how to
allow yourself to put on that princess dress—and it made me appreciate that, to
my dad, it never mattered: being a dad to girls was no different to him than if
he'd had sons.
I write a lot about motherhood and my mother. But the
roles of dads should not be downplayed, nor should they be perceived as totally
foreign: my dad showed me what he knew and continues to, which is the best any
parent can give.