The reality is, every single one of us has a mom- this a prerequisite to being alive. If you exist today is because your mom gave birth to you. I would argue that being a dad does require significantly more effort. The post is to say thank you to my dad and share how he influenced my life today.
There are… things I appreciate about my dad: his love to music and books, his passion for health and wellness, and his culinary skills.
Music and books
From the earliest age, I recall hearing music and fairy tales played on our turntable record player. Before I could speak, I heard sounds, I heard classical music composers, I heard popular songs of the 70ies, and I grew up surrounded by music. At the same time, I did not go to music school, like my youngest sister, or master music instrument (she played piano), I forever fall in love with magic brought by music.
While I do not think much about the meaning of the affinity to listen to music, I do catch myself dancing when happy, meditate with Sade, or take a brisk walk to recharge with a favorite tune on Pandora. Today my dad lives in Ukraine, and I live in the United States, but every time I connect my Bluetooth speaker to my cell phone and the music flows in our home, I can not help but smile and think about my dad.
My dad also loved to read. He read to me out loud from a very young age, and he was the reason at the age of 7 years old I read 124 words per minute. The ability to read, learn quickly, and doing research, serve me so well! Just like my dad, I love to read and read many books every year. And oh yes, you should see my Audible collection! I listen to books when driving, rollerblading, hiking, walking, even running. My dad`s dedication, consistency, and patience of spending countless hours reading to me, while I was a kid paid off big time. I wish he would know how the evening cuddling on the couch, listening to the next story has impacted my life!
Growing up in our household, I was always acutely aware of the struggles my dad faced with his seasonal allergies and skin problems. Having some health challenges myself, I can appreciate today the amount if effort, education, and passion he poured into stay well. He read dozens of books, he experimented with many diets, urine therapy, cold water submergence, posting, yoga, meditation, running, and many other things. I got very fortunate, I grew up in the home of a health fanatic.
My dad did not talk much about his experiences, but living in the same house, I knew his quest for vitality, wellness, and better quality of life is a lifelong journey. He was relentless. I recall having a conversation when he confided to me that his biggest fear is to be a burden to us, when he gets older. He started preparing for healthy aging in his 30ies. Today he is in his late 60ies and still bikes, walks for hours at the time, and eats healthy, mostly plant-based meals.
At the darkest days of my son`s illness, I reconnected with his again, and he provided support and encouragement like nobody else. He was certain my baby would get better on sheer diet change and lifestyle adjustment. His passion for self-healing, holistic full-body wellness practices rubbed off on me. I could not be more grateful to growing up in a household with curiosity towards our body and with determination to “figure out” how to support the body`s natural cycles and healing mechanisms.
Love of cooking
One thing my mom was not crazy about is to cook for the three of us day and day out. Both of our parents worked full time, with dad working various shifts. While my mom had to skills, I had the passion. He truly enjoyed everything from baking cookies to making a borsch. I loved his meals and very grateful he was able to teach me how to cook for my family as well.
I recall, one day I came home to find a large hand-written note at the kitchen. I was about 15, and cooking was not high on my priority list of things to do and learn. That day I was hungry and frustrated, and knowing my dad, I knew I better make that borsch happen before they come back from “dacha”.
I started following his notes, peeling potatoes with a knife, cleaning onions, and chopping all the veggies. Step by step, following the note, I made the borsch. I remember tasting it, and think that what was in that pot had very little to do with the borsch my dad used to cook and I used to eat. The soup came out bad.
A few hours later my parents arrived. They were tired and hungry. I served my borsch. We all knew it was no good, but they added some salt, thanked me for the effort and ate the whole thing!!!
Today, I love to cook! In fact, all three of us, me and my two sisters, are awesome cooks. Each one of us, in our ways, embraced the art and the science of preparing dishes, that brings crowd to the table, fill the tummy, and yes, nourish the soul. Actually, I will take that back, my sister, Masha became a renowned Wedding Cake Chef, supporting events as small as a small birthday gathering and as huge as corporate gatherings, large off-site weddings, and other family celebrations!
I miss my parents. I miss my mom, and yes I real miss my dad. While our current relationship status is uncertain, I love my dad, grateful for all that he was and is in my life and hope to reconnect again in the future. What matters the most, the fact is – my dad made a significant impact in my development as a child and continue inspiring me every day to continue reading, living healthy, dance to music, and making meals with all the love in the world.
P.S. My oldest son, Meisha, 11 years old, just spent 20 minutes in the kitchen and emerged with a fully made guacamole!!! He made it himself and I can see my dad`s genes living on and continue in my own children. The legacy lives on. Please take a moment, teach your kid a skill, listen to them, cook for them, hug them. Life is short, and those are precious moments of making the biggest impact for many generations to come.
Thank you, Dad.