Thanks, Dad, for the Things You Didn’t Know You Taught Me


Dad, there’s a countless list of things you taught me, and continue to teach me.  From showing me how to color inside the lines, how to use a power drill, how to ride a bike and how to drive — you’ve been there for it all.

These tangible lessons I learned from you are priceless. But as I grow older, I realize how many intangibles about navigating life, and parenthood, I learned from observing you.  

I know you never looked at spending time with me as babysitting. Quality time together was something you looked forward to and so did I. You also disciplined and didn’t shy from tough conversations.  

You knew when to encourage me. But you also knew when and how to be honest (like how I wasn’t going to be an Olympic figure skater).  

In short, you didn’t let all the hard stuff fall on Mom. You consistently welcomed all of your responsibilities as a parent.  And you performed them with a lot of love. 

Things weren’t always simple and you may not have always agreed. But now as an adult, I realize how much you treated Mom as your true partner. The value you placed on Mom’s thoughts and opinions on matters of life never waned, no matter what.

You showed Mom your appreciation in ways I didn’t appreciate at the time. You did laundry, you cooked, helped clean, and never complained about taking care of me.  Looking back now I can see that you never expected Mom to be the lone household manager so you supported her in any way possible. As a wife and mother now, I can agree those gestures are far more valuable than a dozen roses.

father reading to infant daughter Providence Moms BlogYou see, I’ve arrived at the realization that despite it being 2018, so so many women are not appreciated for their role in the home today.

But whether you realized it or not, you passively empowered Mom, every day, and thereby empowered me.

We can agree that you and my husband are very different people. He is not one to pick up a toilet brush unless asked begged to. He doesn’t keep our vehicles spotless. And he is not particularly handy.  (How many times have we called you to help us fix something?)

For all of the ways you and my husband are different, you couldn’t be any more alike.  

You showed me what kind of life partner I should seek.  The kind of guy who heads up bath time, helps with homework, participates school pickups, drop-offs, and sporting events.  The kind of guy who teaches the hard lessons with love. He may not start home improvement projects without (lots and lots of) prodding, but he is still the guy stays home with a sick kid when I need to be in the office. The husband that is unwaveringly supportive of the ups and downs of my career and the varying salary levels that came with it.  

father throwi
Photo by Conner Baker on Unsplash

Because of what you taught me indirectly, I found someone who nurtures not only our children but me as well.  And I know I found this life partner because you taught me that I was always worth it. And, while I may not have daughters myself, I see what an example my husband sets for our sons.  I know what they are learning through him is invaluable to them and their future families, just as it was invaluable to me.

So, thanks, Dad.  Thanks for teaching me how to tie my shoes and how to pump gas.  Thanks for coming to all of those ice shows and majorette competitions, and for blessing me with your quirky sense of humor. 

But, thanks most of all for showing me that the intangible lessons of parenthood are just as important as tangible ones.

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Robin is a working mother of two very precious, but very precocious sons ages 10 and 6. A lifelong Rhode Islander, she lives in the Providence area with her husband of 14+ years and boys. She is a Bryant University graduate (back in the day when it used to be called Bryant College) where she also received an MBA. In between refereeing her boys' impromptu wrestling matches, carting them between school and practice and handling occasional work issues outside business hours, Robin enjoys cooking/baking (but not the mess they create), 80s music, checking out family friendly events/destinations (pre-COVID that is), visiting new breweries and wineries with her hubby, buying new makeup and taking WAY too many photos (YOLO). She also considers herself an aficionado of naps. Robin believes that it is possible to find both motherhood and a career simultaneously rewarding, with the right support system....and an Amazon Prime account.