I often heard the clichéd refrain that I was my father’s daughter. We spent hours cooking and planning meals, delighting in nature’s wonders, or listening to music together. We even shared a quick temper and disdain for other drivers. These surface similarities gave us a way to connect, but the depth of his influence was much deeper.
I’ve always loved the poem The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. The concluding words are:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
I have no idea if my father was a fan of this poem, but it always struck a chord with me. I realize now that there’s a parallel between our lives that didn’t have a name. We shared a flair for the non-traditional and stubbornness in our convictions. We forged our own path fearlessly with a dedication to our vision of what could be. It could have been a lonely road, but we are blessed with the ability to win hearts along the way.
He forwent a career to raise his two girls, though it was hardly a popular option at the time. He was gentle under his gruff exterior and imparted a ferocity in our bellies and a kindness in our hearts. He encouraged my love for math and science, which lead to my passion for computing. I have the confidence, despite difficulties of succeeding in this male-dominated field, to persevere because he believed in me and taught me to believe in myself. Frankly, he’s the reason I’m a badass.
I would not be the woman I am today without him in my life and couldn’t have asked for a better father. I am thankful for the time we spent together, but as this Hebrew proverb states, “Say not in grief: ‘He is no more’, but live in thankfulness that he was.”