It's hard to encapsulate fathers. They're just ... amazing and confusing and brilliant and fragile and awkward and flawless and funny.
At least mine is.
My dad taught me to be proud—that when crafting a tri-fold science fair board, it is important that the project should be scripted in pencil first, then in pen, then with the pencil marks erased for maximum neatness.
My dad taught me to be generous—that sometimes, even though nobody else in the room knows it, a girl needs a knee-squeeze under the table.
My dad taught me that life is short—that guppies can be first a novelty, then a nuisance, and then a fertilizer.
My dad taught me to pay attention—that what the world tells you is true is worth nothing without further investigation.
My dad taught me to have an opinion—that macaroni and cheese, like eggs, is better with ketchup.
My dad taught me to be authentic—that your experience is better earned when you fuck it up along the way.
My dad taught me to know the truth—that a martini is vodka and olives, and nothing else.
My dad taught me to be compassionate—that seeing the round fullness of people is what makes life ridiculous and wonderful and worth getting up for in the morning.
My dad taught me to be earnest—that the cornerstone of my life, thanks to repetition in childhood, will always be "more elbow grease."
But most of all, my dad taught me to be brave. That what you deserve isn't always what you get and what you get isn't always what you deserve. That life isn't fair. That your life is a product of the choices that you make. That the people who love you won't always get you, and the people who get you won't always love you.
But when they do, look out.
I love you, daddy.