I was sharpening my knives before I started making dinner last night and I started thinking about my dad doing the same thing in our kitchen back home. I don’t know that I was ever really taught how to sharpen my knives, but watching my dad was a great way to learn. I learned a lot of big lessons in the little things Dad would do for us.
One year, on Father’s Day, he took my brother and I to a swimming pool out in Hueco Tanks. To my 10 year-old mind it felt like we were driving out to California, but I’m sure it was only a 30 minute drive from our home. The big, beautiful desert that west Texas is famous for surrounded the pool, and it always seemed to be the bluest water in the world. I’m also pretty sure the pool is as deep as the ocean- at least it used to be. While most dads were playing golf or brunching, ours was giving our mom a morning of quiet and treading water while we hung onto him- just so we could say we swam in the deep end.
Several years ago, Dad gave me Smart Women Finish Rich, by David Bach. The cover has a woman floating in a pool enjoying her abundant life. On the first page, Dad wrote, “So one day I can float in your pool.” The book sat on my desk, moved to my bookshelf, and then back to my desk before (a year later) I picked it up. Budgeting wasn’t always my strong suit, or at least I told myself so. Well the book has been as life changing as the first time I read Edith Wharton. Suddenly, my eyes were opened to the little things my dad would do for our family that Bach wrote about. I had lived with the advice Bach solicited, but it took sitting down to read said advice to see: Dad had already shown me the way to a solid budget and secure life.
Most importantly, though, Dad showed me the perfect margarita. Seriously. Every Friday night was pizza night- we’d order from Andre’s Pizza, watch The Dinosaurs, and mom and dad would have margaritas on the porch. (Note: Carter and I weren’t allowed to partake in the margs until we were of age. Rude. But responsible.) The pizza and margarita combo, coupled with the El Paso sunsets (Best. In. the. World.), equals top-five favorite traditions growing up. Even though I couldn’t drink them, I watched Dad make the margaritas. I learned to always use good tequila, never use sweet and sour, and the more limes the merrier.
There are the father-daughter teas he attended and the hiking trips in the Franklin Mountains with my Girl Scout troop. The tennis tournaments he cheered at and the patient lessons on how to drive standard cars. But my abundant life is so because Dad believed in me enough to hug me everyday and show me through love how great he thought I was. That is what I learned from my Dad and what I take with me each time I walk out the door. Now I share it with you.
You are great and you will do great things.