Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Dad-ism a day keeps the doctor away

Dads are full of two things for sure: advice and bad jokes. There are a lot of phrases and things my dad's coined over the last 18 years of my existence, but there's one that's always stuck with me.

"If you fall off the bike, get up, brush yourself off, and get back on the bike."

The first time he said it to me, it was in a literal sense. I was the oldest of four kids, so I got the brutal end of learning how to ride a bike. Every Saturday, he would pull out a die, I'd roll it, and that was the number of squares in the pavement I'd have to try and ride. It was the only fair way for both of us for me to learn how to ride a bike because by golly, clumsy 5 year old Meredith was going to learn how to ride a bike. So yes, imagine that awkward and anxious girl on her bike with no training wheels, praying that a low number showed up on that dreaded die. Regardless of how much I didn't want to do it and the number of times I scraped my legs (and self-esteem), he stressed the importance of trying it again. Crying and scared, I learned to toughen up and keep going.

And I learned how to ride a bike.

But the rest of my life, far after my actual bike experiences, I've heard that same saying from him. I've gone into many things crying and scared, but was reminded of those lessons. He's reminded me of this simple saying with every failure and low point in my life. Not making teams, boy problems, scholarships, college admissions, everything. Even after a minor car accident when I was nervous to drive again, he reminded me of this (note: it was nothing traumatic, just a little bump and I was being over-anxious in natural Meredith state). No matter the number of times you fail, what really matters is not letting it touch you. Fall off the bike, maybe cry a little, then get back up and try again. There are so many people that fall and give up on the bike and decide to not bother anymore. But in the back of my head, there's Dad again, telling my bruised self to do it again. He taught me that it's how you react after things like this and that you can't let anyone or anything keep you down. It's the only way we get better and build callus and strength, and everyday I'm thankful for a dad that instilled that mentality into all four of us. He didn't raise anyone to sit on their butts and cry and I believe I'm a stronger person for it. 

So as I sit here on this rainy day, fallen off the bike and a little bruised, I think of the die I'm going to continue to roll and the helmet I'm going to put on, and I'm going to keep going.

Thanks, Dad.


PS: He's probably going to see the title of this or I'm going to text him and he'll wig a little over which story or thing it is and then rejoice when he realizes it's just this one. No worries, Daddy-o.

PPS: WOW THE IRONY OF THIS STORY-- I wrote this in my notebook and was walking across campus on yes, this rainy day, when I slipped on a puddle and literally fell on my butt. It was one of those 'my legs slipped out from under me and I did the splits' sorta things, but I laughed and got back up, praying no one saw me. Two girls in front of me saw me, but said, "Hey, it was graceful." And now I have scrapes all up and down my legs. This lesson keeps becoming more and more true.


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