I’ve written about my Mom in a previous post, so it’s time to give my Dad some “ink” too. He taught me it’s never too late to start over and you never give up. He’s followed Winston Churchill’s advice to a “T” and set a wonderful example for me and my siblings.
Dad built both the homes we grew up in. With a third child on the way (there would be six in all), he’d work on the house at the end of the day, after his regular job was over. Our house was just down the road from Gramma and Grandpa’s farm, with a creek and drainage ditch full of frogs and salamanders that kept us kids entertained.
That winter, an early massive thaw melted the creek, which flowed up the ditch and seeped through the frozen ground to the foundation of our partially built home. He worked in the mud and cold, with only the light from his car headlamps to excavate and redo the whole front wall so our house wouldn’t collapse. He didn’t give up.
Dad got into real estate while still laying brick. He graduated from college, then went back to school to get his insurance license. He’d joke, “Every time I sold a house, they’d buy a homeowners policy from me too!” For 20 years, he was General Manager for a real estate company with 18 offices, then became a licensed appraiser during the 1980’s recession. In 1993, he and Mom moved to Colorado to be near their “kids” and started life over.
He picked up the masonry tools again, at the age of 60, while rebuilding his real estate business. He’d take the bus 60 miles up to Denver where he laid block at the new Denver International Airport. He worked in the cold and high up on scaffolds with men and women half his age. Yet, he didn’t give up.
He’s 86 years young.
He skis, he golfs, he still sells real estate and does appraisal work. He’s raised six kids and survived a few health scares. He dances beautifully with my Mom. He’s been there for all of us, time after time, in ways I can’t even begin to describe.
My dad is the best example why we should view our lives as a series of transitions, as multiple opportunities for growth and learning, how to adapt and how to start over again — no matter what. Life is too short to stand still.
Be not afraid to start over. You are not quitting – you are adapting! Let the current guide you to new shores. Few of us swim in the same water twice.
Soon we will start a New Year. We get to start over. Take my Dad’s advice: “Don’t be overwhelmed with work. Keep moving. Keep the faith. Pray hard. Play hard. Stay in touch with your family. Never give up on your kids!”
Love you, Dad
Your favorite daughter