When I was five and received my first scooter that Christmas, I broke my leg as I turned the scooter and remember my dad holding me, rocking my body gently and the Children’s Hospital waiting room from 9pm to 5am when it was finally my turn to be taken care of. That day, a tiny patch of gray hair grew on the back of his head from the stress and pain he went through because of my injury. To this day, the only gray hairs he has are in that small little patch on the back of his head.
Photo by Anna Arteaga
He comforted me when I had nightmares
I remember yelling out many nights during my childhood because I had suddenly woken up from a bad dream, or because I had heard something spooky outside. Whichever it was, I could always count on my dad, a knight of shining armor who would come and chase bad dreams away or look all over my room to make sure I could sleep in peace.
He always taught me directions
For some reason, the men in my life are the most direction savvy and geography oriented people I know. No matter what the country, the city or place I’m trying to get to, my dad is the first to take out a napkin and draw a perfect map leading me to my destination. Sometimes he even prints out google map screenshots and highlights the route by hand. I’m thankful my dad has been there to guide me both philosophically and physically my whole life.
He taught me how to drive
My dad got my siblings and I a little battery operated Barbie Jeep that fit two kids when we were little. That was the beginning of our driving instructions. Then he would sit us on his lap and have us steer inside our enclosed neighborhood. Then when we were teenagers he’d have us drive in enclosed places with him by our side until we could get our permits. All of this prepared us to be safe, cautious and conscious drivers.
He taught me the value of family.
My dad values family very much. And I am thankful that I have learned from him that we may think we have all the time in the world, but the truth is that time with family is precious and limited. That is why he loves taking us to visit his grandma and parents and asking them to tell us stories about their childhood or younger years. He has done all this by setting an example, and I know that when I am older, I will value and spend even more time with him and my grandparents.
He always helped me with my homework
My dad wasn’t the brightest in school, but when it came to large science projects I had as a kid, I always knew I could count on him. I remember spending hours in the garage with him, brainstorming ways we could make a 3D solar system out of recycled items, and just laughing and having fun and then being proud of our outcome. I’m also thankful for all the Sunday nights I remembered I needed a costume or certain colored paper from the store for the next morning at school, and my dad made the treks out to find whatever it was I needed.
He took care of me when I was sick
My dad and I agree on many things, including the fact that we’d rather injure something like have a sprained ankle than spend many days sick in bed. When my dad was home and I was sick, we’d let my mom rest and he would come and spend the night lowering my fever with cold water cloths, or simply talking to me to cheer me up. I remember one time he even took me on a bike ride to feel better.
He’s helped me pursue my dreams
Within his possibilities, my dad has always helped me go after my dreams. I remember how hard I fought for my parents to allow me to attend summer camp at Dolphin Research Center in Grassy Key, FL. I set up a cookie business to save up, as I was encouraged to, and was gladly sent to camp. Same when I wanted to attend a specific university, I was shown all support from my dad if I put in the same amount of effort academically.
He’s taught me what love is
A girl will always look up to her mom and dad as the perfect love story. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a strong, solid, stable relationship formed out of solid love, friendship and respect in my parents to look at as an example. I know what I want in a man to marry myself, because I have seen what a true husband and father must be like.
He’s the house clown
Never has there been a gloomy day in my home because of my dad’s very fatherly sense of humor. Whether it was playing pranks on my boyfriend, or planning to bombard my mom with water balloons right as she got ready to leave to get groceries or picking up the phone and saying “Hello, Pizza Hut here, how may I help you?”, he has always known how to make me laugh.
He taught me to appreciate my values, religion, country and culture
As I grew up, or as many of us grow up, we sometimes forget where we come from, sometimes we aspire to be someone we aren’t. Sometimes we get trapped in fads or appearances, but my dad was always there to remind me of what matters the most in my family, to keep my feet on the ground and my heart in the sky.
Photo by Anna Arteaga
And to finish off, here’s a funny list depicting why dads are awesome.
Winner of Best of Boston 2017 by Boston Magazine. Now, imagine a place where children are encouraged to make mistakes, two-year-olds are learning how to play the violin, and teachers are encouraging children to explore the limits of their potential.