Always stop to pee – and other lessons from my dad

Post by Melissa - Photo copyright

While I wrote a nice sentimental tribute for my mom for mother’s day (here if you missed it) – that just wouldn’t be right for my dad, our father-daughter dance was to “Beep-Beep” after all (pictured).  My dad’s lessons are very practical, though they still have a Jewish component.

Always stop to pee

We took a lot of road trips when  I was a kid, my dad is a big fan of traveling by car and seeing nature pass outside your windows.  This lead us on a lot of back-roads and you never knew when the next time was that you would come upon a rest-stop with a working toilet.

This taught me to take advantage of every opportunity presented and to seize the moment!

How to fix a toilet

My dad worked in wastewater for nearly 30 years, and as an occupation hazard he learned a lot about toilets.  My dad taught me to take the lid off the tank and to look for one of a few issues whenever a toilet was malfunctioning.  This has become so ingrained in me I will even do it in other people’s homes sometimes when I recognize the issue.

This taught me to look inside before making a judgement!

Laugh every day

My dad has a dry and sarcastic sense of humor, which definitely rubbed off on me.  A prime example of my dad is his now infamous comment to my mom the morning after their wedding, March 31.  He turned to her with a smirk and said “April Fools!” While my mom did not find this nearly as funny as he did, he has been sharing his sarcasm and silliness with her for 37 years, and was sure to pass that on to his children.

This taught me to take life lightly.

Love to read, and do it often

My first memory is sitting in the hallway before bedtime with my dad reading to my brother, then to us both, and later to me with my brother hiding inside his door when he outgrew family bedtime stories.  To date, my father is always reading multiple books at a time, and you have to move them to find a seat in his truck.

I think the lesson on this one is pretty obvious, and probably the one I (and my brother) use the most.

These lessons have all shaped who I am as a daughter, friend, wife, aunt, student, and Jew – and I hope they will one-day shape the way I am a mother.  My love of life and learning have driven me forward in my formal and informal education – which has truly influenced my religious journey.  Thank you daddy, without your influences, who knows what kind of person I would have grown up to be, certainly a less adventurous, handy, humorous, and brilliant one – Oh ya, and humble too…  Happy Fathers Day! 🙂

What odd life lessons have you learned from your dad?

{This post also published to Modern Midrash at}


2 thoughts on “Always stop to pee – and other lessons from my dad

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