Fill 'er Up and Hit the Road*
One Day At A Time - Dealing With Usher Syndrome

My Dad Led Me Out On A Limb

Dad and me little
My dad and me in 1968.

My dad likes to live on the edge, and he raised me to feel comfortable out on a limb, too.

 My dad always says, "Rules are meant to be broken."  It drove my mom a little crazy, but I know what he meant. If someone tells you no, find another way.  Think out of the box. Don't let others tell you something can't be done. 

My dad always says, "C students rule the world." That didn't go over well with my mom either, but I know what he meant. Be a well-rounded person who can carry herself in the real world. Meet people. Know people. Don't spend your life in a carrel at the library studying theories. Get out there, experience life and do stuff.

My dad always says, "Do your own thing. Don't follow the crowd." That was a hard one for me. I wish I woud have followed this advice earlier in my life. But I wanted to fit in, while my dad urged me to stand out. Thankfully as an adult, I have come around and found it's a lot more exhilarating and fulfilling to forge a fresh path.

My dad always says, "The early bird gets the worm."  I still tune that one out. I don't want a worm - not even laced with tequila. 

My dad always says, "Nothing good happens after midnight."  The summer I was 20, I lived at home. Night after night, I partied with friends into the wee hours of the morning throughout the summer. On one particular evening, my dad walked into the bar at 2:00 am, wearing only his navy velour bathrobe. He announced, "Young lady, it's time." I love him for doing

My dad always says, "Repel them, repel them, make them relinquish the ball." When he yells that old college chant at Packer games, we pretend he's just some old guy, tagging along for the free beer.

Girl, 10, Gets City To ActMy dad always says, "Speak up. You can change things." When I was little, the two of us took walks together every night after dinner. He'd smoke a cigar and I'd catch snowflakes on my tongue. We'd walk through the tiny zoo located a block from our house. We'd have the place to ourselves and say goodnight to the bear, the porcupine, and the wolf. But when I was eight, the city closed that zoo. The animals were moved. The cages taken away. And grass was planted to cover any hint it ever existed. The city erected a "Zoo Closed" sign which stood in an empty field for two years. We continued our walks and one night I mentioned how much the "Zoo Closed" sign bothered me. He said, "Tell the mayor."  As a ten year old, I remember thinking, yeah, right, the mayor is hardly going to listen to me.  My dad said, "Seriously, if it bothers you, write a letter. Speak up." So I did. The mayor listened, and the city took down the sign.  My dad taught me I have a voice and my opinion is important.

My dad always says, "If money is your biggest problem, you don't have big problems. Loneliness is a far worse predicament." I never believed him until I was facing a divorce, starting life over in my 40s, and feeling very alone. But he's been there for me every step of the way.

At 47, a divorced, single mom trying to start a new career, I found I needed my dad more than ever. I'm out on a limb - speaking up, voicing my opinions, not following any crowd, and constantly trying to think outside the box.

But I'm not alone. Just like every edge has a center, every limb has the support of a trunk.