This picture is of my first steps while holding on to my dad’s hand.
My parents were divorced when I was 4 years old. My childhood was growing up with a single mom and visiting my dad and his family one weekend a month. The majority of time my step-mama, Kathy would pick my sister and me up for our weekends. My dad was usually working during the weekends but depending on the shift he was on he may have either picked us up or drove us home.
When I was in high school my dad was in between careers and searching himself to decide what he really wanted to do. He was working a business with my grandfather and starting school because he felt he wanted to become a doctor. He and my grandfather owned several Napa Auto Parts stores in the dessert areas of Riverside and San Bernardino. He lived in Riverside and I was in Orange County and during this time it seemed he did most of the driving for my weekend visits. I remember having a lot of talks with my dad during this time in our lives. I was older and he would talk to me about real stuff, like what he thought or felt about people, life, and what he wanted. I actually enjoyed the drives because it was really the only time I’ve ever had like that with my dad.
I remember one drive that we talked about how my dad decided to make the change in his life and work to become a doctor. I can hear him talking in my memory like it was yesterday. What he said has stuck with me ever since. He started telling me how many hours he was sitting in his car driving from one store location to the other. He told me he had been sitting there thinking about how all of these hours spent in his car were hours in his life that would never be there again. Hours and hours he could have been making a difference in the world, gone, never to be there again. He felt they were wasted hours of his life. I remember something in what he said hit me really hard. It was the first moment in my life I realized that life moves forward and we are either in it making a difference or we aren’t. We can’t ever get time back. I totally understood at the moment that life was being spent and at some point we’d run out of it.
My dad is the kind of man that makes an impression on people. He challenges your way of thinking and is passionate about who he is, what he believes, and what he does. Even if you don’t agree with him you can’t help but admire him. He’s a motivator, a dreamer, and a doer. He just is. I have watched him make every moment of his life count. I learned to live like this from him.
For me, my family is my passion. My people are where my heart lies. I’ve tried not to waste a day without telling someone I love them or what they mean to me. I may not have the chance tomorrow. I’ve spent the last 22 years telling my daughters everything I know and every secret I’ve learned in case I don’t have the chance to tell them tomorrow. My husband has told me I have the personality of a brick coming at you at 50 miles per hour. I think that’s pretty funny and we always laugh at it but it’s probably true. I probably come off over the top about stuff that means something to me. I just feel a desperate passion about life and I think it started that day in my dad’s old El Camino with the windows rolled down. He was yelling the secrets of life at me so I could hear them over the wind. I heard them, and right or wrong I agreed. Today is a day that will never be here again, how are you going to make a difference in it? How are you going to spend it? Who will you love in it?
Live it, live it hard, what you do makes a difference.