A Toronto Transformation

Ten Things I’ve learned from my Dad


1. The internet is first and foremost a place for looking at sailboats and sailboat accessories.

2. Strategic garage-saling. It involves checking the paper the night before, planning a route and then getting up at the crack of time and heading for Tim Hortons.

3. To be loyal and honest. He never had to beat me over the head with this. it just sort of came out in any advice he gave and in the  way he is himself.

4. To work hard – This is another one where his actions really reinforced the lesson. My dad is goofy and hilarious and playful but he is also a very dedicated and diligent worker who takes pride in a job well done and in finishing what he starts.

5. To be polite and friendly to everyone.– This didn’t come from nowhere.

6. To be positive. Despite all that hard working, at the end of the day, as a kid I’d often hear him coming before he got in the door, as he’d be  strolling along, whistling some happy tune by the time he got to the house. While my whistling is sadly inadequate, I have tried to find that balance of working hard, but then leaving work behind at 5:00 and making a point of enjoying the rest of the day.

7. That my freckles and moles are beauty marks. This was his explanation one day when we were driving somewhere and after examining my little face in the side mirror, I wanted to know what the heck the mole above my lip was. Obviously I immediately counted up every freckle, mole or mysterious spot on my skin and concluded that I must be gorgeous.

8. To be compassionate and to be generous to others, especially when life has been generous to you. When I was about 11, my parents and my aunt and uncle and I spent a few days in Toronto, seeing the sights, and more importantly, from my perspective, seeing the stage production of Beauty and the Beast, (on the day of which, I inconveniently developed all the flu-ish symptoms of what turned out to be chicken pox. Whoops). I’ll never forget seeing my dad, all dressed up for the theatre, stop on the way in to chat with a miserable looking man who was panhandling in the bitter cold and give him $20.

Over the years I’ve seen him reach out a helping hand to many a stranger in need,  and he gives in such a natural, easygoing way, banishing any potential awkwardness from potentially awkward situations with an open face and a genuine smile, and maybe a joke or two.

9. To be curious about/interested in people. Driving around town with my dad when he’s in a certain mood can be a hilairous game of “What’s that person doing? where are they going and why are they going there?” We roll our eyes, shake our heads and laugh at his assumptions, but I think really it’s just that he’s curious about people, which is a quality I’ve definitely inherited.

10. To fish. While it’s not a skill I use anymore, I have great memories of one-on-one time fishing with my dad, digging for worms in the backyard, and his insistence that you can’t possibly fish without timbits. Of course, it never occurred to me as a little girl, but looking back, I really appreciate that he didn’t wait around until he had a son to take his kid fishing. Because in never excluding me from things, or assuming I wouldn’t like them based on my girlness, he taught me never to doubt that I am just as important, just as valued and just as loved as my highly valued and loved brother.

And I wear that love like a superhero cape.

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