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6.16.2013

15 Lessons I Learned From My Dad: A Father's Day Token [RIP]

Today makes it 100 days since my daddy died. This is the day I've dreaded most since I have a habit of spoiling him rotten on this day. I tried to forget about it because it sucks- I'm in the middle of finals in medical school, am battling a very real dark time, and don't have him around to hold me and repeatedly tell me it's ok.  This Father's day is a painful reminder that my beloved father isn't around.  It's impossible to forget.

Saying "Happy Father's Day" wouldn't be enough for him.

I don't know what your dad is like or what he says but my dad was awesome and would say the most brilliant things without even noticing.  Since he died, I feel like I've been hearing his voice all the time; when I'm stressed out, crying, laughing, dreaming, and scheming, his little sayings stay with me.

He used to always tell me, "You'll remember me well when I'm gone. You'll remember all of my sayings and my silliness. You'll tell your friends about me and you'll smile. You'll say 'Damn, I had a good daddy'". This is very true.

Well there is little smiling these days, but his lessons are engrained in my memory for ever. If I am lucky enough to be a parent some day, I hope to be as good of a parent as him and share all of these sayings with my children.This one is for my daddy.
One of my favorite pictures of us. This was on the day of my (very Haitian) communion in '96.
A Father's love. A child's safety.
1. "Perception is reality."
We see life through our own lens. What we perceive ultimately becomes our reality, whether it is the truth or not. Be open to the idea that reality is made up of an infinite number of perceptions.

2. "What parent wouldn't want what's best for his child?"
Like all children and parents, we had our little tiffs, though nothing too major, thank God.  As the children, it's easy to think that our parent's have a vendetta against us; always thwarting our little schemes. Well, the hard truth is that most of the time, they are just looking out for us because they love us more than we can ever imagine.

3. "Always be the bigger person, even when it's hard!"
It's hard to put your ego aside when someone is treating you terribly, especially if this person is someone you trust and love, but love is stronger than pride so always step up. You'll be rewarded in some way in the future.

4. "People drive like fools when the weather is nice."
Fact.

5. In a similar vein..."Always assume that the people driving around you are idiots. Use caution."
Enough said, lol.

6. "When people use the word 'honestly' repeatedly in a conversation, they are probably not being honest, especially if they are trying to sell you something or convince you."
I used to think he was being "extra" when he'd say this, but it is so true! There is no excuse for using the word "honestly" so many times if you are indeed being honest.

7. "A movie that stars too many celebrities is usually doomed for failure."
LOL. I can list dozens of movies that starred the best actors and actresses, but sucked so bad. I won't list them here...

8. "A good friend shows their loyalty in times of trouble."
I can't tell you how many times he repeated this to me. And every time, I'd say "Preach poppa!". People are usually happy to call themselves a "friend" when times are good. But when times are shaky, do they  show up? Accountability is key. And as the great Maya Angelou said, "The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them".

9. Serious photos are the worst photos".
There are very few serious pictures of my dad, which made picking a memorial photo for his funeral quite the task. He was always throwing up funny signs with his fingers, making silly faces, and goofing off. That's what made him Peter.  It used to annoy the hell out of me and my mom! I'd say "Daddy, why can't you just be normal", and he'd say "Normal is boring. When I'm gone, you'll want to remember me as a funny guy, not a serious guy. The serious guy never gets the girl". Ha!

10. "You don't need a reason to love someone."
We love people because we do. Just let it be.

11. "It's never too late to have a glass of wine with your one and only father".
My daddy and I would enjoy a glass of Merlot all the time. He introduced me to wine, amongst other things. We actually used to go to happy hour together sometimes! But most of the time, we'd kick it in our backyard, overlooking the ocean and talk about life as we sipped on some red.
Little did pops know, I hate Merlot!
But I drank it to make him happy. I still do. I always will.

12. Always do your best and that should be enough. Don't let your failures define you."
As a virgo/perfectionist/over-achiever, this lesson is a tough one for me. I have always been so hard on myself.  Luckily, I've always had my parents, especially my dad to balance this out and give me a pat on my back.  Now that my dad is gone, I have to take over for him and pat my own back. Be kind to yourself.

13. " I need to be me. I need to be free. Let me be."
I don't think old pops meant to rhyme, but that's how dope his swag was.
Just do you...

14. "Treat yourself once in a while."
My dad always laughed at my fasts and cleanses.  Whenever he saw me taking it too far or when he would want me to indulge on a fudge sunday with him, he'd stress the importance of treating myself.

15. "You never know what you have until it's gone"
Daddy used to always say this one. I tell you, it's almost as if he knew he was going to die young, though I'm sure he didn't. None of us did...
Alas, it's true. You can't possibly perceive all the ways you love someone until their absence exposes those dimensions.

So that's that. My little token of light to my daddy up above...my angel.

With love and gratitude,
your daughter, who misses you tenderly and howls out your name every day, just like you used to howl hers.

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