In memory of my Dear Ol' Dad who would have been 82 years old today. I wrote this in 2009 and read it at his memorial service just about a year later...
I had started writing a completely different post when my son came up to me and said, "Mommy - I think you're a Super Hero. I like you!"
How do you not stop whatever you're doing and just soak THAT in for a while?
Of course there are several ways to interpret a statement like this coming from a four-year old. If you are the parent of (or have ever been around) young boys, you know that almost anything can be emphasized with what we call in my house, "potty talk."
The fact that my son didn't further clarify his compliment to me with something like, "Super Mommy Stinky Butt" is very encouraging.
That said, the happy incident reminded me of a conference I attended back in my early career days. I was at one of those outdoor "networking" luncheons. We were sitting at round convention tables, trying not to feel like we were on a first date with eight other people.
Everyone at these things wears name tags stuffed in little pouches which are hanging from logo'ed lanyards. You've seen them -- the first name on the tag is really big but all of the other information (title, company, location) is just small enough to make trying to read it really awkward. Like, "I'm really not checking out your cleavage; I'm just trying to see if you're important enough for me to spend my valuable time talking to you."
Anyway, an executive from a large IT company decided to get the lunch conversation started by asking everyone to go around and describe their "hero" to the rest of the table.
Right then I knew my position in the world had been elevated. Most of my previous ice-breaker experiences involved describing my favorite vegetable. But now we were getting "deep."
When it was my turn, I told everyone that my hero was my Dad. Typing it now I guess it seems like a corny response. The kind of thing a Miss America pageant contestant would say if she had no intellectual or historical frame of reference to come up with a "real" hero (as the rest of my table did.)
But at the time, people seemed genuinely surprised. The IT executive said, "Wow - I'd say your dad is a pretty successful guy....for his daughter to say that. I sure hope my kid says that someday."
So when my son called me a "hero" last night -- despite the fact that he's four and goodness only knows what he really meant -- it made me think of that luncheon and my dear ol' Dad.
As I tried to fall asleep, I kept thinking of the various lessons I learned from the man who is still my "hero." (See photo insert.)
Here are the first ten things which came to mind. I'm keeping them concise on purpose so I don't spoil the chance to provide embellishment in future blog posts.
1. You can't burn a candle from both ends... at least not for very long.
2. If you're forcing something too hard, you're doing it wrong.
3. In a bag of potato chips, the burnt ones may be the ugliest but they taste the best.
4. Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty but the pig likes it.
5. If you want to get more done in the day, wake up earlier.
6. If you really want something, it might be worth going to 15 different places to look for it.
7. Good education is about learning how to learn.
8. You don't have to like everyone and not everyone has to like you.
9. People in love think they're invisible.
10. When you're thinking about someone, let them know -- it will make their day.