What I Learned from My Dad — Happy Birthday

I spent half the night up with one sick triplet (Olena), one triplet who was just up (Theodore), and one triplet who joined the early morning party because she did NOT want to sleep alone in her room after her sister fell ill (Gretchen)…

Half asleep (or maybe half awake?) in the chaos of the morning it hit me that today was my daddy’s birthday and the day six years ago that my triplets were finally well enough to venture out in public for their Christening. It just came all at once…I took a deep breath and said, “oh, today’s the 21st. (smile) It’s my daddy’s birthday.”

Pappa Teddy and me. Dad would have been 92 in 2013.

Me and my dad. My favorite picture of us. Stylin 70s, um, style.

Obviously, I wish my dad — who Theodore is named after — could have seen the trio.

But of all the wishes, and all the could-have-beens, my life was filled to the brim with wonderful lessons my dad taught me.

You know the quote where they say you have to build your child up with so much confidence they can’t be knocked down? Yeah, that what my dad did.

Lucky girl I am.

So in no particular order, here’s what I learned from my dad:

Family is everything. As much as your siblings may bug you, they will always be YOUR siblings.

Stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. I remember, clear as day, going to a dairy in downtown Utica where outside three young boys were picking on a much older female who had developmental delays. My dad told me to stay in the car, and he marched right over and gave those kids a piece of his mind. First thing he did was ask the girl if she was OK. She was. He then went up one side those kids and down the other, drifting in and out of English and Ukrainian, and told those kids to back off.

From that day on my dad was a super hero without a cape.

And to go along with the last point always treat others the way you want to be treated. No matter who the person is or how the person “ranks” always greet them with a smile, say hello, and say thank you.

Work hard. And then work some more. People will notice.

Education is important. Never stop learning. Ever.

Play in the dirt. Plant something. It’s very therapeutic and the results are amazing! Get outside. Enjoy.

If you lose your cool, oh well… get over it. True friends will stick with you no matter what your opinion may be.

Stick to your gut. If it’s right, it’s right. If it’s wrong, call em on the carpet!

Reminisce and tell stories but always make new memories. Have fun. Be responsible. Be a little crazy. But be prepared to face the next day (ie. get up for church at the crack of dawn).

Be proud of who you are, your heritage and your country — even though you may not agree with everything your country does. Dad grew up in Ukraine where he didn’t have the opportunities we have here. He came here like so many others to start again. And BOY am I glad he did.

I could go on and on and on…maybe I should save some for another post?

I think I should.

So, happy birthday Papa Teddy. I love you and I miss you.

Until next time…









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