When I think back on the time that I had with my father, it never seems like it was enough. Still, in that short period of time, I learned so much from him. My father was my true hero. The time we spent together was valuable, and the small moments were what counted most. I recall sitting on his lap when his uncle passed away and watching him sob quietly, so strong yet so vulnerable. If I close my eyes, I can see him in his police officer uniform when he came home from work. I stayed up late on those summer nights waiting for him to come home after working the swing shift, hoping we could have some time together, even though it was late. Spending time with him was important to me, even and especially then… He was my hero!
Of course, as I got older I went through the phase of falling in love with my now husband and I wanted to do the teenage thing. Even during that time though, I learned from him. While working with my father for our family business, I watched him from a distance. I saw the way he treated the customers, how he spoke to people and the ways he conducted his business. His work ethic was impeccable. As I hovered over the cash register and readmy college textbooks, I saw how he worked so hard for everything we had. He demonstrated to me every single day, as I rang up an item with that cash register, the importance of hard work and dedication. I used those ethics as I hammered through my books, into my college career. Leading by example for me with all he did… He was my hero!
My dad stressed the importance of education but he also stressed the importance of working hard and doing what you wanted in life. He never forced me to pursue college but if college wasn’t a priority, maintaing a job was. He wanted me to have that sense of responsibility so as to not depend on anyone else for money or security. Early on, he had us earn what we wanted. I remember him telling me one time when I was young, “always ask yourself whether it is a necessity or a luxury.” With those words alone I continue to approach things when saving my money. I always asked myself, “Do you really NEED this?” Having that frame of mind helped me survive a lot of financial hardship when he passed. Even after he was gone, he was helping me get through those tough times… He was my hero.
On July 15th, I celebrate my father’s life and the life he provided for me and for my siblings. If he ever doubted himself as a father, I am proof that those thoughts should have never run through his mind. I could not have asked for a better role model than him. He never complained and always woke up to work in the early morning hours. He provided us with love and guidance. He stood by my mother’s side and I was blessed to have both my parents in my household. I hope wherever he is at this moment, he knows that he was and still is my hero. It’s been fifteen years since his death and there has been no one who has left quite the impact that he has left on me, and for that I will be forever grateful to my one and only hero!