Sunday, June 17, 2012

Lessons in optimism, what I've learned from my dad...

*Cue corny Father's Day post...and go!

My dad is what you would call an optimist. My mom even calls him an "eternal optimist", so it's no surprise to me that I inherited this positive attitude from him.

(I'm pretty sure I've shared this story before, but bear with me!)
When I was a kid we lived overseas, and one of our favorite things to do as family was to travel. After my dad was stationed at Ramstien AFB in Germany, one of the first big trips we planned was to Paris. Of course everyone was so excited to see this amazing city for the first time and I'm sure my parents had every detail of the trip planned in advance. So it was more than a little disappointing when our first day in Paris dawned rainy, dreary and downright miserable. Now, you can imagine how fun that must have been, my brothers and I were probably around ten, eight and four at the most, and I'm sure we were begging to go back to the nice, dry hotel room within a few minutes. Then suddenly my dad perks up, points to the horizon and says, "Look, over there, it's getting brighter!" Was it? I don't know, probably not. But we were all like, "Okay, it's getting brighter, it's going to stop raining, awesome!" And that pretty much sums up his attitude most of the time. The rest of us have used that line over and over again in the years that have come. Sometimes sarcastically, because sometimes it's not getting brighter, no matter how hard you try to convince yourself. And sometimes truthfully, because sometimes it does get brighter.

Hilarious family photo! Yes, we were going to a baseball game! Yes, it was the 90s!

Now fast forward a few years to 2010, June, just eight weeks after I'd given birth to Sophia. For some insane reason I'd agreed to run a 5K with my dad, though I'm not a runner at all. But at the time it really sounded like fun, seriously! In hindsight it was insanity. I think I made it about fifty feet before my then fifty-year old dad totally took off without me. I wanted to die pretty much every step of the way. Eventually toward the end, my dad had already finished waaayyy ahead of me and actually came back for me. So he jogs up along side of me and starts to tell me to run the last bit. Admittedly, I think I was like "hell no, I'm going to puke" but I managed to pick up my pace a little to a fast walk-run. And so I crossed the finish line, not walking, not on my knees, but running...ish. It was fun, now in retrospect to share that experience. Though I'll never do it again! Again with the optimism, telling me to run when I'd rather lay down on the ground and puke.
Us and our medals.
Anyway, so my last example of optimism isn't the easiest one to write, but I'll give it a shot. Actually it's one subject I've been avoiding writing about lately, despite my penchant for saying exactly what's on my mind all of the time. On January 19th of this year I got the call from my dad. He calls me every Thursday pretty much without fail so I was pretty much blindsided with this call turned out to be the call. You know, the one where he told me he'd been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Yeah, that one. And like any person who's just been told someone they love very much has cancer my gut reaction was not good. In fact it felt a little like downing for a moment. And then the craziest thing of all happened. He assured me everything was going to be fine, he wasn't going to die, and that we'd all get through this. See? Eternal optimist. And just like that, I took a deep breath and thought to myself, "Okay, we'll if he's fine, I can be fine too." And we have been, maybe not all of the time, but we've gotten through alright. Maybe might dad hasn't been perfectly positive the entire time, only he can answer that. But he's certainly maintained that attitude in front of me and my brothers.

My dad and my baby girl.

As a parent myself I can't think of a better lesson to pass onto your kids. To show them how to look on the bright side of things, no matter how dark they seem. Because most of the time, it is getting brighter and how much better do things seem when you realize that?

Happy Father's Day Dad, I love you!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome pictures! What a sweet tribute to your wonderful dad!