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Last updated on June 17th, 2012 at 11:17 am
Dreams start early in life, and with the right launch support, they can come true. We don’t always have the support of our parents when we start on our life dream path. In this sense, I am lucky to have the unwavering support of my father.
For Father Day, I wanted to share my first experience in being allowed to dream big and offer some insight from my side on how to launch a daughter in life.
We didn’t have a typical home life. As a pilot, my Dad was not home every night for dinner, helping us with our homework or watching us at whatever activity kept all of us busy on the weekends as kids.
The weird thing is, I remember him being there. Maybe it was that the times he was there stick in my mind since it wasn’t every day. Or it could be the fact that I tailed him around every second he was home.
Granted, being absent did nothing to lesson the fun we had when he was there. Vivid memories of the pool, being launched from his shoulders to fly and SPLASH! These are things a kid lives for. That and my first ride on the back of a motorcycle. And learning to drive stick while almost driving off a cliff in his truck. His calm steady encouragement is what I remember most.
Most of us have memories like this of our fathers… and they aren’t always happy memories. I can appreciate the fact that I was lucky to have these experiences. One gem I can recall from an early age that comes up now while I’m parenting:
You are going to have to make your own mistakes.
There are times where I can look back on that advice and be grateful for the lessons learned. Other times I just want to smack my 17 year old self and scream “Why didn’t you listen then?”. That is reality of growing up – recognizing those A-HA! moments, even if they were over 20 years ago.
When I grow up I want to be…
Like any child, this story of what you want to be when you grow up morphs over time. If it didn’t, the world would be overrun with firemen and ballerinas. Eventually a few of us have to find something else we want to do as an adult.
The irony is that I did dream big and wanted to be a ballerina! Looking out in the audience at my first ballet recital at 6 years old, dressed as a duckling, and seeing my Dad in the audience, video taping the whole thing. Granted, this was back in the super 8 days, so it was not an easy task to schlep that thing around to capture our childhood memories.
I don’t think we knew my father would show up on film until we were in our teens and grabbed the camera from him just to get him in the shots. That’s another thing he gave me – the memories indelibly captured in all forms of film.
All the steps I took in my career – which is obviously not as a ballerina – have been met with support from my father. Those steps may have been prefaced with a barrage of questions, and his playing devils advocate to my steadfast plan to take the next step in my dream journey. In the end the his goal was simple. That we be happy in what we are doing with our lives.
Little girls have their father wrapped around their finger
I feel for my Dad. With four of us girls growing up, we demanded a ton of attention. Father-daughter relationships are beyond important. I’m learning this as a mother of a son. We are the first bond that will affect every relationship we have in the future.
Let me just apologize to my son right now for the hours of couch time I’ve added over the years.
Learning about how to relate to him is where I fought certain aspects of my personality for the longest time, just to say I wasn’t like him. We weren’t always close, and my parents divorce and teenage years could have killed the relationship for good, but he never gave up.
That is a key point I take with me into my own parenting problem solving. No matter what, be there.
During my own divorce in my late 20’s I moved back in with my parents. The opportunity as an adult to get to know him better was priceless. I’ve had some really interesting conversations with friends and siblings about our relationships with our parental units.
Some insights as a daughter that I have come to terms with:
- Yes, your father had a life before you came along.
- Yes, he made mistakes even though they may not want you to know the details.
- Yes, he is human, although it may take a really long time for that to sink in, if ever.
I still have conversations with my father about life plans, the “what-if’s” of our decisions of how we live our lives, and his thoughts on the world and us in it. What I truly appreciate is that we aren’t the same people we were 20 years ago, and we can both accept that. Changing the way we communicate as we all grow up is just fine.
Here’s my video thank you to my Dad for this Fathers Day.
A big virtual hug and thanks for all you do as my Dad – have a wonderful Fathers Day!
Heather Montgomery is a fitness writer, triathlete, and serial entrepreneur who is devoted to sharing what she has learned about becoming a triathlete after age 40. She uses her Metabolic Training Certification to help other women struggling to get fit in mid-life. She lives and trains in Santa Rosa, California, the new home of the Ironman triathlon. You can find her biking the Sonoma County wine trails.
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