Things My Dad Taught Me
Four years ago (12-1-15) my dad was passing peacefully at a beautiful hospice facility in Florida. It was just a few miles away from where he’d practiced medicine most of his life. The peace my brother and I found there helped my dad transition to Heaven in God’s Grace.
Being at hospice was, however, not my father’s plan. He’d chosen to die at home which did not happen.
I’ll start right here with what I’ve learned from the good doc, Mickey. These are only a few of times with dad that I’m thinking of now. He always made me laugh until I cried. I wish I’d saved some of his stories to share here . There are just too many!
As a doctor he had a stellar reputation and was proud of so many diabetics and others he kept healthy and walking. The list is long but here are some of the strange but normal Mickey-isms.
1. Always have a plan B.
My father grew up in a rough part of Philly called Strawberry Mansion. Each street of row houses were of different and divided ethnicities. His mom was a bad-ass card player, a family trait, but not motherly. He grew up rough and learned young to plan ahead or run! For Mickey, his plan was education for elevation. For his children, he saved money.
2. Apply yourself at work and always continue to educate.
Mickey was able to attend a privileged high school and college after earning full scholarships. He graduated early, was offered medical scholarships and became a foot surgeon by 23. He continued to learn, teach and lead in his field. As I mentioned, he was a special man to many patients. I ran barefoot at the barn!
3. I’m going to die when I’m 50.
For the love of God, he told me this a thousand times. Heart problems were common in his family, primarily the men including his dad and brother who did die young. Mickey lived to 83 after a triple bypass about 20 years prior. The key: Mickey always did 100 sit ups and 100 push ups every morning, every day. He loved yard work and between these exercises he stretched out his life expectancy. I’m so grateful. He also passed on the love of exercise to me and his grandchildren.
4. Mickey did have a heart!
I always knew he loved me and my half-brother. As far as my mom, I recall ducking flying ash trays between the two.. My parents divorced six months after I married. It didn’t take long for Mickey to seek out his high school girlfriend. They lived another 20 years before his love died of lung cancer (she was a non-smoker). While they were in their honeymoon phase he left her love notes, expressed feelings and emotions I’d never seen. Lesson learned here for me is to love and love hard. Let there be no boundaries when you find your soul mate (assuming it’s healthy love).
5. Stop being a door mat. You’re too nice.
My dad always told me I was too nice and vulnerable. He told me many times to stop being a door mat. A kinder version would be in the song Rhiana sang, “Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness.” I’m embracing this dad.
6. Never pay to take a job.
Plain and simple. Mickey didn’t believe in network marketing or anything you pay to start. He believed in old fashion work for pay, to save, live within your means and invest. Ironically I truly suck at networking marketing. His words stuck or influenced me beyond his grave.
7. Marry within your religion.
Mickey, married twice so he said, was never married in his religion. Considering he was an opinionated man, his beliefs took over rather than blended. The difference caused chaos and divorce. I regretfully repeated this pattern against my dad’s advice. I’m divorced.
8. Tupperware story and friends.
My dad shared a story with me that happened to his mom. One party changed who she trusted and befriended. He told me this as I was losing many friends.
After enduring a serious surgery then an even more scary bout of cancer, I missed a monthly Bunco game often. I was fatigued, sick and scared. The ladies said, “Who can be sick for a year?” They cut me out. Actually it was for the best as I was struggling for two years only to then suffer the loss of my dad and other close relationships after cancer. Lesson learned here is to treasure your health and any support you have. I had my brother and several dear friends who helped me. I’m grateful and I tell God every night.
9. Sports and Stocks
Mickey taught me so much about investments, baseball, football, boxing, betting, muting announcers he hated and the art of watching sports all day. My son inherited those traits so it’s a blessing that I feel at home when sports are on and the parties are in full swing. My dad’s tombstone reads, “He had a good turn at bat.”
I can think of so many funny things Mickey said and did. He was hysterical, a great writer and joke teller, a bad-ass drill Sergeant, a brother, uncle, husband and he was our dad. He was a lady killer and found a couple of beauties he called “arm candy” a time or two. Not a nice statement but definitely a Mickey-ism. He often told me to wear heals when I dressed up to show off my legs. He’d get arrested for that now. For me, it works every time!
Beyond looks, Mickey encouraged not only his children but many he met to seek out education as a means to success. He was a great man who believed in his children and provided “the good, bad and the ugly” which shaped my brother and me into strong, smart and funny people. Dad, you’ll always be my hero and know you’re loved, prayed for and adored.
PS According to dad, WD40 fixes everything! Peace and love ©️2019