In the 10 years we’ve been married, my wife says more and more frequently, “You’re just like your father.” The truth is I think my father’s the greatest man I know. Here are a few examples of the things I’ve picked up from him.
I’ve started waking up early on the weekends. While I was growing up, my dad would get up every morning around 5 a.m. to start his day whether it be a weekday or weekend. I would always wonder why he was up that early and now that I’m in my 40’s, I understand. Getting up early on the weekend and starting my day, I have noticed that I can get most of my chores, errands and other stuff done before noon. We work all week to make it to the weekend, but being adults, we still have responsibilities even on the weekend. The great thing about getting everything done before noon is that I have the rest of the day to do what I want. My wife, on the other hand, will sleep in until noon or 1 p.m. on the weekends and lose most of her day. When I was in my 20’s, I would want to sleep in as long as I could on the weekends too, but my body is happier now rising and shining early to start my day.
My father and I had season tickets to the University of Illinois basketball games when I was still in my 20’s. We lived about an hour and a half away from Champaign. My younger self could not comprehend why we needed to leave at 9 a.m. for a 1 p.m. tip-off. Insanity! We’ll be four hours early! Now in my 40’s, I completely understand. One reason was that we never knew what kind of weather we’d be driving in. Illinois can experience all four seasons in one day. Fog between Springfield to Champaign was always possible. Secondly, the early bird avoids the long food lines. Neither my father nor I like standing in lines, especially when hungry. Truth be told, I love being the one driving my wife nuts now with my very early departure times.
This last one I enjoy the most because it frustrates my wife the most. I do the majority of the shopping for the house. As I mentioned in the first paragraph, this happens very early before she even wakes up. I like to pre-map out an efficient circle that I follow when running errands. By circle, I mean that before I even leave the house, I lay out a route where I start at my house and end at my house with no unnecessary deviations. It drives my wife crazy because I’m talking out loud to myself mentally laying out my route before leaving the house. She would rather just fly by the seat of her pants and see what happens. To me, she sounds like the crazy one. I try to explain that careful routing and planning means less meaningless wandering and more efficient use of our time. Thanks again dad.
Many of us declare in our youth that, “I will not be like my father.” But as time goes by, many of my dad’s little quirks start coming out in me drip by drip. I say don’t be mad or sad, embrace them! These quirks have probably been passed down for generations in your family. I have two kids and am trying to teach them the wise and wonderful traditions I’ve learned from my dad. They’lll appreciate this someday, but it might take a few decades. Happy Father’s Day to all of you quirky and wonderful fathers out there.
Derek Brawner is a community and broker liaison at Health Alliance. He’s a small town guy living in the big city of Springfield, married with two kids, huge Star Wars fan and griller extraordinaire.
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