When you are young, it’s easy to take it for granted that your parents will always be around. I couldn’t envision a time when my father wouldn’t “dadsplain” how to do something. I thought my dad and I had nothing in common. He could be an inscrutable mystery to me. He was obsessively organized. I’m basically a hot mess with a dash of organization thrown in.  He – and by extension, we – lived very simply. And, this irked me beyond measure because I have champagne taste. It wasn’t until I was well into my 40’s that I began to realize that my father and I were kindred spirits in so many ways. We both loved travel and adventure. Exploring different cultures.  Capturing memories and feelings through our photography.  My father was a huge supporter of my wanderlust and creative pursuits.

Daddy-Daughter, Morocco

I think about my father everyday since he passed and am grateful for all he taught me. Although he was a man of few words, he taught me many things.

3 Life Lessons

  1. My father was looked on as someone who was dependable and reliable in all circumstances. He always followed through on what he committed to do, regardless of what he had to sacrifice. My father taught me that your word is your bond. It is all you have and it’s what you stand behind.
  2. My father’s favorite poem was Invictus by English poet, William Ernest Henley. He would sometimes recite, the last 2 lines – “I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.”  And he lived his life like that. He believed that everyone is responsible for themselves. Their successes. Their failures. When you end up with the short end of the stick, how you to respond is up to you. I find this one of the hardest lessons. When things go wrong for me, it’s easy for me to relinquish command of my ship to someone else. But eventually I hear my father whispering the words to Invictus and I know it’s time for me to get back behind the wheel.
  3. My father worked long hours to make sure that we had a home and had what we needed. He did not have disposable income. When I was growing up, he had a Canon AE-1 with a decent size lens – the only expensive purchase I’ve known him to make. It must have taken him years to save for that Canon. He cherished that camera and pulled it out at all family gatherings. He would spend hours combing through his pictures and creating a photo album. Photography was the only thing I’ve ever seen my father splurge on. It made him happy. So find something you are passionate about. Do something you love. You will never regret it.
Carried by Dad

I don’t know that I have mastered these lessons as well as my father had.  At least not yet.  I continue to look upon my father as the ultimate role model.

The Ultimate Lesson

The best thing my father taught me was that the love between a father and daughter is a gift; not to be taken for granted. Even though we had our sharp differences earlier in my life, my father was responsible for much of what I am today. He loved and accepted me – even when I crashed into the garage the day after I got my license. He pushed me to think and reason. He showed me how to laugh at myself. He taught me be independent. And he confirmed that ice cream is a legitimate food group which should be incorporated into everyone’s daily diet.


“When I am at my best, I am my Father’s daughter”


Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

4 thoughts on “Things My Father Taught Me”

  1. Michelle,
    Before I retired I so enjoyed sharing pictures and stories with you. By far, this blog post is the most touching and exciting thing you ever shared. I know your dad is extremely proid of who you became. Thank you.

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