Nice hat, Dad. And gas was only $0.31/gallon.

I don’t know why, but eventually you become your parents. The other day, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I said “WARSH.” Like as in, “I’ll warsh the dishes!”

Can you imagine?

Thank goodness I was on the phone with the only person I know who says “WaRshington DC.” He didn’t even notice.

My parents (yep, step-parents and in-laws too) are of my dearest friends. Moms are incredible and all-knowing. They understand their daughters. Sometimes you just need Mom: step-Mom or in-law Mom. But this isn’t about Mom. Whether he’s cool headed and calm, helps you with your cars, or is feisty and cracking jokes, he’s Dad.

My step-dad is cool and calm. Always. Except for the time my brothers snuck out of the house during an ice storm in the middle of the night on New Year’s Eve… He is my personal sports guru. You want him on your Trivial Pursuit team.

My in-law-Dad loves his NASCAR. Indy every year. He’s my go-to car man. In 1974 he brought home a 5,000 gallon big rig tanker from the National Guard and another time a 1980s Excalibur. Amazing! But mostly, he’s more amazing for his knowledge of oil changing, tire pressure, gauges, and everything “cars” that I don’t know.

Now my dad-Dad is feisty and hot-headed. He can be impatient and gets worked up easily. Just like me. Go figure. But – he is hilarious. I laugh so much with him. He is SO East Coast and yet embraces his Midwestern values (and accent!) with pride. I love it when I hear that Ozark-ness over the phone. It melts my heart. He gives the bestest advice ever, and boy, he can tell a story! Best buds, Dad. Forever.

Dad bought this Harley for $150. Wow. That’s pretty awesome.

I think of this particular story when times are especially tough:

You see, my dad, uncle, and granddad had a cattle farm and turkey hatchery. My brother and I were babies. Dad was working National Guard on the weekends, Mom was working hard at school. Raising two kids wasn’t easy when they were running the local Kentucky Fried Chicken. On top of that, Dad had the cattle and the hatchery. Just when Dad thought times couldn’t be tougher, he found himself shoveling turkey crap in the hatchery. Tripped, fell, and broke his teeth.

To this day, Dad tells me that story when the going gets rough and reminds me in his own sweet way, “Sometimes you’re the shovel, sometimes you’re the sh*t.”

So true, Dad. Love you.

What’s YOUR favorite Dad advice?

Dad in jump school – Fort Benning, GA

Dad, you really look cute in hats!