I mentioned in an earlier post how much I looked up to my dad growing up. I described him as a superman. I knew he didn't wear a cape or fly around, but other than that he was pretty much him. I even noticed how his hair was always perfect. Not one hair out of place, just like Superman. Like Superman, I loved to watch him fix the car, fight the dragon (that would be barbecue in most homes) and mow the lawn. I could listen for hours, and did on our roads trips and moves, to his army stories and childhood experiences. Though he and Jon (my brother) really had the connection here, I loved listening to him point out the different airplanes we'd see flying overhead or at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. I was always jealous that Jon had such a mind for airplanes, guns, tanks and other military things.
One of my favorite childhood memories was from a road trip my family took to California. I woke up at what seemed the middle of the night to me and everyone was sleeping except for my dad who was driving. We were out in the middle of nowhere and I remember how brilliant the stars were. I slid up to the igloo the was placed in between the bucket seats of my family's van and the two of us talked for a very long time. With four sisters and a brother it wasn't always easy to find time like that with my dad and I loved it. I still remember how I relished the opportunity. We went to Disneyland that trip, but when I got back this is what I told my friends about.
I used to read the Life's Little Instruction Books and saw that he was looking for suggestions. I went to my dad and asked him for some advice, but I told him that I was just trying to remember some of the advice he had given me over the years. He said, "If you can't remember the advice I've been giving you, you're up a creek."
Well dad, I'm not up a creek. The lessons you've taught me have stuck. Here's a few of the things I've learned from you. The Talmud says, "When you teach your son, you teach your son's sons. Here are a few things you've taught Avi and Itai. Thanks for teaching me these and so many more things.
1. I never wondered if my dad loved me. No matter what trouble I got myself into, and I got myself into plenty, I never had to wonder whether he would stop loving me. One of the reasons I always wanted to name my son Absolam was because of the love David showed for his son, the same kind of love my father showed me.
2. My dad worked very hard for several years to raise funds for the Sub for Santa program. I remember one year he was focusing a lot of energy towards finding donors and I selfishly wondered who would be our donors. I never said anything to him about it, I didn't need to. I knew what his answer would be. His example of caring for others was something I took for granted when I was young, but something that I hope to emulate for my own children.
3. One of my dad's most frequently used quotes is, "It's ok to be confused." He has said this as long as I can remember. Maybe it's not the best thing to be, but it happens from time to time. One thing I didn't expect to have learned from him when I was younger is it's ok to cry. When I was young I never saw him cry. I don't want to embarrass him, but he has now shown his soft side. Luckily for me I can still follow in his shoes because I have been exposed as having only a soft side.
4. My dad's favorite play was (and may still be, I'm not up on this)Man of La Mancha. He never really told me why he liked it so much, but I really enjoyed watching it with him. If I had to guess why he liked it so much it would be that my dad is an idealist. I think my dad loves the idea of sallying forth into the world righting all wrongs. I know he loves the song "The Impossible Dream." I think it describes what he would really like to do. Whatever the reason he likes it, I will always remember the trip we took up to the University of Utah to watch the play. He was singing and humming the music for weeks.
5. I loved listening to my dad tell about how he came to be a member of the church. His testimony of the Gospel was always something that was uniquely his and very personal to him. When my sister and I decided church should have a summer vacation like school does he let us know how important church was, not to us, but to him.
I have forgotten many of the instructions those little plaid books gave, and those that I remember I don't follow. For example, "Never attend a church with padded pews and a basketball court." I break that one all the time! I remember my dad's advice and what's more, I'm still trying to be like him.