My father was my role model; he was the kind of person I wanted to become when I got older and entered the world of adulthood. I admired his strength, his creativity, his ability to build anything, anywhere from scratch. I still can remember thinking and hoping to myself as I watched my dad work on his projects that one day I could be the kind of person my Dad is.
I still remember the sounds of my dad beginning his day: the ringing of his alarm clock at 4:30 in the morning, the running water as he shaved, the coffee maker as it beeped, and the rapid footsteps he made as he scurried through the kitchen preparing a quick breakfast. His speedy breakfast was followed by the thud of the front door closing, his green Maverick coming to life, and the crunch of gravel under the tires as his Maverick left our driveway as he zoomed out of the driveway to catch the 5:30 bus into New York City. My dad worked as an electrician in the local 3 union.
It was only then would I quietly sneak out of bed and tiptoe into the kitchen so I would not wake up my mother and cause her to have to check on me to see what I was up too. I would then grab his half-empty coffee mug – it was still warm from the coffee and from his hands pressing against the cup. Uncontrollably, I would smirk as I thought about the surprise project my dad had in stored for us to build when he got home from work. He was always building something and if he did not have a project to do then he would create one, just so we could spend some quality time together and he could teach me his building secrets. I wanted to be just like him – he was my hero.
While I waited for him to come home, I would go into the garage where my dad kept all his tools and pretend I was him building something special for the house or the yard just like he would do. I would lace up my pretend work boots – at that time it was my goofy looking sneakers that my mom bought me - I can’t believe I wore those sneakers!
It the corner of the garage on the right hand side was my dad’s building area. He had hundreds of tools. The area was immaculate each tool neatly place in a specific spot looking like it was never used even though most of my dad’s tools were over 10 years old. I would quietly sneak over to his tool area and take out one of his hammers, a flat head screw driver and a Philips head screwdriver, along with a tape measure. The most important tools any builder needs to build. I would climb on top of his work chair, lean over his worktable -- now magically transformed into my own workshop with my pretend helpers working by my side. I would use my logos and pretend that I was building things for the house. If my dad knew, I was in his tool area without his supervision he probably would have punished me and ate me for dinner. My mom just turned her head and pretended to not know what was going on. As long as I was at the kitchen table to eat my breakfast, lunch and dinner then she was happy. I was in my make-believe world – a world where I could do no wrong and anything was possible. I wanted to be like my dad. After all, he was more than just my dad; he was my hero and no one could ever take that away from me.
Time flew and before I knew, it was 5:30 and any minute dad was going to walk through the door and give me a big hug, a kiss on my check and ask me what I did today as he always did. When he would ask me what I did I would just shrug my shoulder and say, “nothing much!” He would look me straight in my eyes with a stare of disbelief and give me a smile. I would suspect he knew I was up to something I shouldn’t be doing, but he didn’t care. To him I could do no wrong. I was daddy’s little girl and he was my - super hero able to do anything.
After dinner he would take me to his building area, it did not matter how tired he was he would still take time out to teach me something about building that I did not know before. During my early years, there was nobody bigger, stronger, or more important than Dad was.
As I grew older, I saw myself follow in his footsteps, my love for building never diminished it only grew and expanded, as I got older. As time went by, I eventually I got married and had a family of my own. I continued my love for building by carrying on the building legacy. I created a building room just like my dad, and I built, fixed, and created things for my home and my family all the time, just like dad did. Most of all I would take time out to teach my kids how to build and how use tools safely. Many times when I was teaching my kids how to build things, I would look up and see the same anticipation and excitement in their eyes as I had when I was once their age. It is as if I am living my childhood all over again, expect now it feels more meaningful. Now I know how my dad had felt when he was teaching me and now I know why he took time each day to teach me how to build even though he was exhausted from work. To me this is my relaxation and my # 1 source for obtaining a sense of serenity and a way to maintain my sanity in this crazy world in which we live.
And for my father, it remained a comfort and blessing to know that no matter where my life took me, his love, patience, understanding and wisdom would always be there for me. And to yes, my dad is still my hero, but at this stage of the game, he had become my friend and would remain so for the rest of my life.