Life Lessons from Papa

Written by Chic Country Life

Loving the rural life. Living close to nature with the family and my motorcycle on the Manitoba Prairie.

June 15, 2014

Life Lessons from Papa

My dad, or Papa, as I have always called him, is and has always been an important part of my life. He is compassionate, funny, gregarious, and my friend. Sure we’ve had some heated disagreements in the past, but in truth, I think it is because we are so much alike. As a salute to him on Father’s Day here are some of the life lesson’s he has taught me:

1. Family comes first – If your family needs you, be there.

Not just your kids or spouse, I am talking about your parents, brothers and sisters, your aunts, uncles, grandparents. We grew up with a large extended family that has always remained close. Over time the family has grown exponentially, but even though we may not see each other as often as we may like we are still tightly connected. I look it at this way; if they can’t garden anymore, you grow an extra tomato plant for them. If they need help fixing something, filling out a document, a drive to the doctors or shopping picked up, essentially you get off your butt and do it.

As a child, my favourite place to be in the whole wide world was my Nannetta’s and Nonno’s house. I even tried to go by myself on my tricycle at the age of two or three when my parents wouldn’t take me. As I grew up the bond remained. My parents built a new house with a “granny suite” for my dad’s parents. I was also very close to my Grandpa Harry and my Nana, who still uses that “granny suite” on a part time basis.

This was a lesson I learned well from Papa. I make an effort for my children to spend time with both of their grandparents because both have something different and equally important to offer them. I don’t want them growing up not having built a strong relationship with them.

2. Your children above all – I am a mother lion, watch out if you cross my kids. I would walk to the ends of the earth for them.

It’s not enough to just say it, you have to live it. Take them places, expose them to the world, people, life, new experiences. Teach them, don’t spoil them. Above all love them and let them know that you love them. Kiss them goodnight every night, kiss them when they leave you for school, hug them when they wake up, tell them you love them.

Growing up, my Papa would say stuff like, “We always took you kids with us on vacations. There may not be a fortune for you in the will, but I spent it with you and spent time with you. To me, that’s more important than wondering what that ‘old bastard’ who did nothing with you left for you after he was gone.”

I may not always be the picture perfect parent, but I do the best I can. I do what I do as a parent with love and always with my children’s interests at heart. No parent can be perfect, we all need to accept that. What I learnt from Papa was that spending time with your kids matters. That’s why I choose to not work full-time in an office until my kids get older. Why I will always be there after school, or whenever they need me. Although, at 2 a.m. I may be less happy to be there.

3. Love life – “I’m here for a good time, not a long time,” is his philosophy.

Take time to enjoy life, don’t always walk on the right side of the street. He wasn’t always the perfect kid, certainly not the priestly material, his parents had hoped for, but he turned out alright. I too, gave him and my mom a hard time growing up, but I’d like to think I was basically a good kid. I had fun and tried to be respectful.
As an adult, I take this lesson from my father – Do what you love with the people you love. It may be a building project, gardening, decorating, travelling, visiting with friends, whatever it is, make time for it. Life is too short.

I can’t express how much I love you, Papa. Thanks for everything you have done for me over the years – the support, the shoulder to cry on, the friendship and the love. Happy Father’s Day!

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