Growing up, I had those awkward moments, those times I wanted to be skinny and pretty like the “popular” girls, like all the “other” girls.
And, although I know so many girls go through this rough phase, back then, I thought I was the only one.
And, the entire time, I had two parents who told me how beautiful I was, all the time.
So, while I thought the day might never come that I would be as beautiful as my mother (beautiful, beautiful lady), and while I imagined that I just might always be the chubby girl, I had two parents who helped me to get active, to eat healthy, and to see how I could be anything I wanted to be (and that I was already so many of the things I so desperately wanted).
And, while my mom was my ardent supporter through those awkward years and my closest girlfriend (and to this day she still is) and the woman who spent dreadful minutes every morning trying to give me the perfect ponytail, my dad played another role. He was my playmate.
Through all those times when I might not have felt as pretty as I wanted to be, hours and hours on the Nintendo with my dad (and honestly with my mom, too), bike rides, playing catch or tennis, he helped me realize what being healthy-and beautiful- truly was. He helped me realize too that beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder-and that true beauty came from the inside, not out.
It is with that in mind that I devoted myself to school, to my hobbies, and to having fun. Back then I thought I was missing out on something (like makeup and dressing up and even pageants), but now, I am grateful, for both my parents, and the childhood they gave me. My dad pushed me to want more than just to be beautiful, to want to be smart, funny, talented. To want to see the world. To want to save the princess on Super Mario Brothers. (mom cheered me on for years to save the princess) In fact, they were thrilled when I finally did save the princess-when I was twenty-three.
Both my parents taught me that people would love me for who I truly am; in adulthood, I had to relearn that lesson-but I kept going back to their teaching. Today, I am proud of who I am and I am thankful for the journey that got me here.
Today, I am grateful for having been raised by a man that taught me what kind of person I really wanted to be-a truly beautiful person-from the inside, out.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad Eat, to all the dads out there, and to all the moms that play mom and dad every day.