Break Through Your Threshold: Winning the Lotto of Dads
By Jai Maa
The sound of the garage door opening at 5:25 p.m. was my favorite time of day growing up. It meant my dad was home from work and I would run to greet him with a hug. I won the lotto of dads.
My dad is a simple, quiet, and brilliant man who has a heart of gold. His eyes are tender with love, and he laughs at such unusual things that it makes you laugh with him. Every Saturday, he religiously took us kids out on an adventure. We would wake him up after we were done with our morning cartoons, and he would quietly get out of bed without waking mom to take us out for a pancake breakfast. Afterward, we could choose whether we wanted to feed the ducks, play at the park, or go buy a toy. Every blue moon, and if we asked sweetly, he would take us to two places. He never missed a Saturday.
When I became too cool for ducks and parks, I would talk with him for hours about everything from the pain of being rejected by my peers to the complexities of Aristotle’s metaphysics. It didn’t matter what we talked about, I just felt at peace in his presence. I loved sneaking up on him while he was in deep thought. Sometimes, I would think about his reaction and start giggling before I could say “Boo!”. He would turn around and we would both laugh.
My dad also loved watching me competitively dive at my swim meets. He said I would “pierce the water like a needle” and he would yell at the judges if they didn’t give me the proper “10” score as I deserved. My daddy had my back like no other.
When I became too cool for pranks and swim meets, my dad unconditionally loved and accepted me for my teenage reckless behaviors. I approached my dad with an uncommon conversation: “Dad, I’m sexually active. I don’t want to get pregnant, and I’m sure you don’t want to be called “grandpa” earlier than expected. I would like to get on birth control.”
After pausing for a moment he gently responded, “Okay, that’s a good idea. How do we go about this?” And that was that.
He didn’t try to control me with shaming behavior, he just faced reality head-on with unconditional love. What kind of father would respond this way? One who has earned the inexplicable trust of his daughter.
As my challenges in early adulthood increased, so did my dad’s love and support of me. I looked like a train wreck from partying the night before when I met my dad for lunch one day. His eyes filled with amazing compassion, he said, “Any man who ever insults your beauty or your intellect doesn’t deserve the mere breath of you.” His kind words felt like being tossed a rope in my self-sabotaging quicksand, and it changed my life.
When I became too cool for reckless behavior, my dad would come to my art events where I raised thousands of dollars for charities. He would walk into a room filled with hundreds of people and proudly tell the receptionist that he was my father. When he came to my book signing party of my first published book, he pranced into the room like a peacock with his head held high, letting everyone know that I was his daughter. He laughed and made jokes all evening, shining with pride from my success.
My dad deserves to feel proud. Not because he raised an awkward little girl with a reckless adolescent twist to become a community leader, but because he truly is the World’s Greatest Dad.
Enlightenment Challenge: Let your father know how much he means to you. Whether he is your biological dad, a stepfather, grandfather, or another wonderful man who showed up in your life as a fatherly figure. Write him a letter of appreciation. Even if he has crossed over, write a letter thanking him for the positive impact he has made in your life.
Contact Jai Maa at BreakThroughYourThreshold.