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Things My Father Taught Me

So many people complain about/are in therapy because of their childhood. Not me. I had an awesome childhood. Both of my parents made sure I balanced work and play, and both of them taught me valuable lessons on how to live life. There are two things, though, that came straight from Dad.

The first is my competitive streak (thankfully, Kevin shares this particular trait, otherwise we might have a problem). And yes, Camille, I can hear you snickering and making a “Will and Grace” comment. I don’t mean that I HAVE to win at everything I do; but I’m sure as hell gonna try. The effort is important, and if it’s not worth trying, then it’s certainly not worth winning. I also learned that sometimes people will cheat, and that’s not okay. The best example of this is the famous “little Merrin can cuss like a sailor” story from when I was 9 years old, but that’s a tale for another day (and honestly? I don’t tell it nearly as well as Dad does). Winning isn’t everything, the effort is part of the accomplishment, and it’s okay to be proud of your achievements, as long as you don’t flaunt them.

The second, and perhaps more valuable, gift from my father is a sense of adventure. I remember snorkling in Mexico, scuba diving in Bimini, sailing in the Caribbean, deep-sea fishing in the Bahamas, and exploring Verona with my Dad. I’ve learned that even the best laid plans can change at the last minute, and if you keep an open mind, sometimes it works out for the best (hellooooo, Hotel Serbelloni on Lake Como). I’ve learned that even if something doesn’t sound appetizing, it just might be the tastiest thing you ever put in your mouth. I’ve learned that if a steak isn’t rare, you may as well be eating shoe leather (if I had to choose a last meal, incidentally, it wouldn’t be a cheeseburger and escargot, it would be my Dad’s steaks). I’ve learned that you should try everything once, even if it scares you. It’s a big world out there, and there’s a lot to see and do and learn.

My life would be a lot less rich if I hadn’t had those experiences or learned those lessons. So thanks, Dad, and Happy Father’s Day.

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