The other day was my dad’s 82nd birthday and we had a dinner out in his honor.
I am lucky, at 55, to still have both my parents alive.(editor’s note: My dad passed in Jan of 2018. He will forever be loved and missed ) I am lucky that my children got to know them, not just from when they were kids, but as they are growing into adults themselves. Sounds awesome, right? For the most part, it is, but my dad has Alzheimers and my mom, even with the help of an aide, struggles to care for him on a day to day basis. Watching this once incredible man, who seemed to be able to do anything when I was younger, be so diminished, breaks my heart. It also makes me grateful for every minute I had loving, watching and learning from him as I grew up. Both of my parents, really. So this post is about lessons my parents taught me, and the knowledge they helped me gain.
My mom is all about love and strength. She is about frugality and common business sense. She is about love.
My mom was a stay at home mother for many years. When she had to, due to financial challenges, she went back to work as a secretary for a law office and I remember being amazed how after 15 years of not working, she picked it right back up and thrived, going from simple administrative assistant to para-legal responsibilities. She was always the one who paid the bills in my house. She was always the one who managed the paperwork, too. I had no idea what it was at the time but it sure looked important.
I saw how organized and professional she was. She took every job with great seriousness, even if it were just helping my granddad out with the managerial duties of his property. My mom instilled a love of business and professionalism. She made me know, at a young age, that being a female should not hold me back. And it never has. She always respected my input. Well, back then, anyway. Now she’s 80 and stubborn! Kidding there. Well, maybe not.
These were the building blocks of my future entrepreneurial self and I am ever grateful. She was and is a force to be reckoned with and I am so proud to be her daughter.
My dad wished he could have been a wood worker. He wished he could have been a photographer.
My dad commuted from Long Island to his VP managerial position at a car dealership in Brooklyn, NY. It was my maternal granddad’s place and my own dad was working his way up, having started as a car salesman and parts department manager. There were no give-me’s in my granddad’s world. You had to earn every dollar and every position. My dad took that to heart and I saw how hard to worked. But he never really loved it. He didn’t love sales much and he didn’t love the paperwork. And oh, there was reams of it. But it took it in stride and did what he had to do.
But the weekends. Oh, those weekend. The weekends for my dad were epic. That is when his creative side shone best. He had golden hands, according to my aunt. He carved wood with a lathe that fascinated me. He build pieces of furniture and an antique looking clock. It seemed there was nothing he couldn’t figure out. And he always did it with panache. He stitched needlepoint and made me my first ice skating outfit. He took pictures with a Nikkormat or Hasselblad camera and developed them himself, with my brother and I by his side. He liked to paint. I remember one he did of a metal shop scene and the sparks seemed to fly off the canvas. If something broke, he fixed it. If painting needed doing, he painted.
“You can always get another piece of wood” was a phrase he used.
He wasn’t afraid to try. And fail. And try again. He liked experimenting with different ideas. He taught me to not be afraid to take chances on a project, even if it failed. He taught me the joy of being creative. I watched how ordinary things turned into extraordinary things when my dad got his hands on. He was so inventive and fun to be around. I am so proud to be his daughter.
My Parents each gave me a gift. My mom gave me her love for business and my dad gave me his love of all things creative. It’s how I started ScrubzBody™ on a wing, a dime and a prayer! I am so grateful for both!
My own children were lucky enough to have watched my parents as they excelled, but they have also seen the decline. I hope that the lessons from both of them have already been taught. If not, it will be my job to pass them on.
What gifts did you learn from your parents?