My Father’s Daughter

I am my father’s daughter…oh, look! A shiny paperclip!

That about says it all doesn’t it? Ok, not really, but its a good way to start a post about a girl who could never settle on anything. When kids were picking majors and planning their futures I was nervously flittering around hoping no one would stop me and ask me to pin down my future. However, in my defense, most of the kids that had “planned” out their future changed their majors six times in college, but that’s not the point.

The point is that for a long time I really wasn’t passionate about anything.

I was an average kid, got average grades, did average things. My friends on the other hand were the complete opposite. My friends were all in honors courses or in the gifted programs while I was happy pulling B’s in the college prep courses. I wish I could say that I could have done better if I just applied myself, but sadly, no. I did apply myself; I am just a ‘B’ kinda girl.

I excelled in one area, though, the stage. On the outside I declared myself as a theatre major, but I think deep down I knew nothing would come of it. Not that it wouldn’t if I didn’t “apply” myself, but because I wouldn’t pursue it. See, even then, when I thought my world was the stage just waiting for me to step onto it, I knew that acting wasn’t in my future. Not as a paycheck, anyways.

Before I sat down to write my NaNo novel I thought about all the things I’ve been through in my life; all the lessons I’ve learned, the places I’ve been, the people I’ve met. Then I cried because I felt pathetic.

Other than a few states along the Eastern seaboard I really haven’t travelled. I grew up in a small town, went to a private college where I commuted from home for most of it, married my high school sweetheart, moved a block and half away from my parents and am a stay at home mom. Not the exciting life a globe trotter or thrill seeker.

Fortunately for me, I am my father’s daughter.

My dad never went to college. He did a stint in the Air Force and travelled to some cool places, when he got out he worked as a sewing machine repair man.  After 30 years of loyalty his company laid him off without a pension forcing him to find work in local warehouses for various companies. He is currently working for Walgreen’s.

My father is not a doctor, or a lawyer or a person with PhD after his name. However, he is one of the smartest men I know. His knowledge on the most random of topics is astounding. I like to say that he knows a little bit of everything because its the truth.

After I mopped up my tears and wiped my nose on my sleeve (don’t ‘ew’ me, you know you do it sometimes) I sat back and really looked at my past experiences. Sure, I never really focused on an area of academia. It’s true that I used to be jealous of those around me that knew what they wanted to study, what they wanted to be when they got older. But what I didn’t realize that in my own way I was setting up my own future.

I love learning. I love learning about everything and anything I can get my hands on. If I find someone who is passionate about something I pull up a chair, open my mind and ask a million questions; or I shut my mouth, become a sponge and just absorb it all.

Over time I started to hear my father’s voice in my head asking the same questions. I realized that I’m following my father’s footsteps. I always looked at my inability to focus on something was a downfall; I’ve learned it’s one of my greatest assets.

We always joke that my dad could talk to a brick wall and get information out if it. He is the quintessential “people person.” My dad can get people to open up to him, share their stories, even if he just met the person. The amazing thing is, he’s truly interested.

He taught me that I don’t need to get on a plane to learn about distant lands or cultures. There’s a wealth of information at my fingertips through the internet, tv and even with the people around me. Through him I realized that the learning experience doesn’t end in the classroom. He reminds me that there is a great big world out there and its up to me to discover it, even it is through the Discovery or Travel Channels.

I’m glad that I was indecisive. It gave me room to explore everything not just something.

And if we ever play Trivia Pursuit, I call my dad as my partner. (Go ahead, you know you want to say it…No? I’ll say it for you…”Awwwwww.”)

Do you have an area of expertise? Did you always know what you wanted to do with your life? Was there someone in your life that inspired you to open your mind to new discoveries? Can you talk to inanimate objects?

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About Karen DeLabar

A writer who divides her time between her family and her computer while sparing some time to her other loves of theatre, books and scotch.
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16 Responses to My Father’s Daughter

  1. Oooh, such a wonderful post Kaye! I take after the strangest parts of my family. I am a gamer who has to bar herself from addictions, a writer because I love the way words look when they are put together, and even now I’ve started taking after my step-father in the fact that I’ve taken up the hobby of working on cars.

    Your Dad is soo lucky to have you. ❤

    • Karen DeLabar says:

      Thanks so much, E!

      My dad always amazed me with his ability to talk to anyone. I never once thought any less of him because he didn’t have a college degree or a great job. He taught me to respect everyone because everyone has a story; just because its different than mine doesn’t make it any better or worse.

  2. Michael Pallante says:

    “My goal is not to wake up at 40 with the bitter realization that I’ve wasted my life in a job I hate because I was forced to decide on a career in my teens.” – Daria

    • Susan Borath says:

      Awesome quote! Very true! 🙂

    • Karen DeLabar says:

      EXACTLY! I had enough trouble picking out what to wear to school and these people expected me to decide on a career that I’d have for most of my life? But then again, I was raised in a home where our discussions went from Star Wars to Gettysburg, sports scores to Broadway. How was I supposed to choose?

  3. Susan Borath says:

    Awww… that’s sweet. I love it.

    I am totally I am my father’s daughter. Until the past few years, I looked more like him than my mom. Personality wise, I am more like him. Even food and drink wise I tend to be like my dad. Through and through, I am daddy’s little girl (and yes I still call him Daddy.)
    I knew from a very young age that I loved reading and writing, but I really never thought of it as more than a hobby (until recently). I went through the constant college major shuffle. A part of my is jealous of Pookie, who entered college with the same major that in printed on his diploma.
    And, yes, I talk to inanimate objects. And the dog. I need someone to bounce ideas off of! 🙂

    • Karen DeLabar says:

      You’re preaching to the choir, sister.

      Sparky has been taking computers a part since he could pick up a screwdriver. The things he can make the computer do makes my head spin. The only question he asked in regards to his future was when can he start.

      A lot of my friends in school were like that; or if they didn’t know specifically what they were going to do they at least had a field. My dad likes to say that I had a field, its called “life.” Man, do I love him!

  4. Sheilagh Lee says:

    Great article about your Dad.
    My Dad was the handyman’s handy man he could fix anything. I use to enjoy just watching him solve problems with tools that others would never think of.He taught me to be inventive and he taught me just but watching him how to fix things; without ever realizing I was learning these things.So no even though he’s gone things that need fixing I can mostly do it myself. He also like my mother had a gift for storytelling .He mostly told stories either of Celtic legends (like his mother), or of war stories and history.My love of history comes from him, as does my love of all things Irish. I only hope that someday my children can say they learned something special from me.That’s what all parents wish for I think just to pass on a little of themselves in their children so I think your dad and mine succeeeded in that respect. And weren’t we lucky to have Dad’s so special.

    • Karen DeLabar says:

      Thanks for the great comment, Sheilagh!

      I think some of the best lessons I received from my dad’s were the ones where neither one of realized he was teaching me. Does that make sense? Like you said in your comment about how you picked up some “fix-it” tricks just by watching him. Watching my dad treat the greeter at Wal-Mart with the same respect he gave someone with a higher paying, more desired job was one of the greatest lessons he could teach me.

      • Shay Fabbro says:

        I agree! I discovered the person I wanted to be by the kind of man my dad was (helped me to pick up a hell of a husband to BTW). He didn’t have to sit me down and actually SAY anything. It was more by his actions than his words.

  5. Shay Fabbro says:

    I swear we are sisters!!!!!!!!!

    My dad never went to college either (I am in fact the first kid in the family to go to college. First in even the extended family actually) but the man kicks my sassy butt in Trivial pursuit! He is a people person, as am I, and he can put people at ease in seconds. My dadda worked hard his whole life: served our country in Vietnam, married HIS high school sweet heart (my momma), had 3 girls, worked construction his whole life, and taught me the value of hard work and doing whatever it takes to take care of your family.

    And I TOTALLY call my dad as partner for every game we play!!! 😉

    • Karen DeLabar says:

      Whoa. This is starting to get freaky. I also can relate to the comment you posted above, about finding a great husband. Sparky is exactly like my dad. Although, he was always interested in a specialized area and the kid is super “book” smart, he’s also a man of many talents.

      He picks up the strangest and most obscure facts. If my dad’s not available, Sparky’s an comparable replacement.

  6. Well, I can honestly say that I am probably in the extreme minority of the responses here. I never knew my father. What I heard about him was less than flattering. My mother, however, has always been a hard worker and raised three boys with little or no help at all. She recently graduated with a degree in Business Leadership and Ethics.

    I knew what I wanted from high school on. Kind of. Maybe. Not really. Ok. So, I knew what I wanted and stuck with it, but never finished it. Instead I married my high school sweetheart, who asked that I get a job and take care of her. Well, long story later, two kids, divorce, a string of job hunting/swapping. Now, I am married to the woman of my dreams. It wasn’t until I sat back and re-analyzed what I am doing with my life that I realized that, all my life, I have been trying to be a writer without knowing it. I studied Philosophy and World religions and Linguistics in college. I play games and tell stories for fun. Basically I am and always have been a writer. It took ruling out everything else to figure that out though.

    • Karen DeLabar says:

      I have 3 older brothers and I can not imagine raising 3 boys on my own. Your mother must truly be an extraordinary woman. I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you how lucky you are to have her.

      I’m glad that things turned around for you and that you’re on the path that makes you happy. Best of luck and happy writing!

  7. Pingback: Don’t Be a Mitsy | Have Coffee… Will Write

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