I’ll never forget my dad’s best advice: “If somebody hits you, you hit them right back.”
Yep, that’s my dad. That’s from the same guy who told me a watermelon would grow in my stomach if I swallowed its seed, that if I slept 10 hours a day and drank a glass of milk before bed I would grow to be 5 feet, 8 inches. My dad told me a lot of rubbish, but somehow I always believed him (it started sucking when as a 6-year-old I would have panic attacks because I accidentally swallowed two black watermelon seeds).
How could you let someone hit you and not hit them back, he reasoned.
Like all fathers whose lives center around their daughters, my father was full of advice for me. My dad was a walking fortune cookie; whenever he got a chance to dispense some advice, he did. Even when there wasn’t a chance, he would.
“So, Dad, can you drive me to Grace’s house? We want to go to the movies.”
“Sure. But just remember to never judge people based on how they look or what they wear. Wealthy-looking people might not be rich and want to look like they are, and people wearing run-down clothes might actually be really rich.”
That was a typical interaction. I mean, I was just making sure he could drive me to my friend’s house. Looking back, I realize it was just my dad trying to deposit some fabled thoughts on me whenever the moment struck him. Too bad it didn’t make much sense in context.
My dad gave me away earlier this year. While there is a collective agreement that the man he gave me away to is pretty amazing, I don’t doubt there was a sadness my father felt that I couldn’t empathize with. Before the wedding, my dad thought things would change between us. He thought I would never ask for his advice again, that I would come home less frequently, that I would forget about him and my mom. Essentially, he felt he was no longer the no. 1 man in my life anymore.
It’s hard for me to assess whether or not those changes will happen or have happened. I’d like to think they haven’t. But all I know is that I have never and will never feel the same love for another that I feel for my father.
But before he gave me away, unsurprisingly he gave me some advice: Stay happy. And, that’s one advice I’ll take with me and pass to my children.
If you’re wondering, I never had to heed his advice on defending myself by throwing a shot to my enemy’s chin. Too bad, because my dad taught me how to land an awesome right hook.