My dad shaped me into the woman I am today just as much as my mom

A pre-Father’s day appreciation

When I was a kid the phrase “daddy’s girl” always got applied to me. As I started growing older, people stopped referring to me as that, and started using phrases such as “like mother, like daughter.”

I always thought that was pretty funny because my dad has shaped me into the woman I am just as much as my mom has, but my dad definitely gets a lot less credit for it. From my early teen years until now, there are lots of different roles my dad filled that either I didn’t appreciate enough or society didn’t. Here’s why my dad (and all dads) are pretty swell.

The whole crazy family

The whole crazy family

He was my personal cheerleader

I was a lazy 10 year old but my dad made me play field hockey. He would teach me for hours in our basement in the winter and for hours in our backyard in the summer. What I appreciated the most, however, is how he cheered me on. I remember he would take time off work for every single away game to drive me up to the game and then watch me play. That might not seem like a big deal, but with his full-time job and the stress he was under, it was a big deal.

My dad attended every hockey game, came to every awards ceremony, watched every concert, and volunteered in every fundraiser I put on. Anything he could do to be involved in my life, he would do. My dad was one of my biggest cheerleaders.

My dad, sister and I at a high school fundraiser

My dad, sister and I at a high school fundraiser

He taught me how to be handy

Whether it was building a bookshelf, putting new shelving in, or fixing a TV, my dad did it all. What’s even better? He taught me how, too. From a very young age, my dad let me help with any projects he was working on. He didn’t shy away from letting me use power tools and he definitely let me make my fair share of mistakes.

It’s a sad fact that a lot of girls I know don’t know how to use power tools or build. I’m one of the lucky ones because my dad was more than just a handyman, he was also a great teacher.

He’s one of my greatest teachers

On that note, my dad read to me since I was a little girl, and as I got older, he would answer any and every question I had. He would sit with me as I tackled difficult algebra problems and he proofread every paper I wrote in high school.

As I grew older, this person who seemed to magically know the answer to every academic question slowly stopped sitting by my side, and I asked him fewer and fewer questions. He allowed me to become independent and figure out what works best for me and what I’m interested in. It’s because of that freedom that I’m now an aerospace engineering student, and I absolutely love my schoolwork. Without his help and him constantly telling me I can do better and learn more, I would have never gotten here. Basically, he was the best teacher.

My dad and I after he watched me sky dive

My dad and I after he watched me sky dive

He is an excellent role model

Above all, my father taught me the importance of family, just as much as my mother did. He was always checking in with his brother and his parents. Any time a relative from India would come to the states, he would insist they come visit and stay, regardless of how well he knew them or how long it had been since he’d seen them. When we go back overseas, he’s constantly trying to help out whether it’s by teaching his niece some math or going to the grocery store for his mom.

This is a man who chose to leave a life he was familiar with in India to move to the United States where he knew almost no one so he could give our family an even better life than the one he had. Too often we don’t realize the sacrifices our parents make for us and this is definitely one I didn’t realize until recently. If I can be half the person my dad is, I’d count myself as doing well.

Dads are pretty amazing, aren’t they? I mean completely besides the fact that we literally wouldn’t be here without them, they do pretty much anything they can for us and fill so many different roles in our lives. My dad has helped shape me into the person I am today just as much as my mom has. Hopefully one day I get to hear someone say, “like father, like daughter.”