I am one of three daughters.
The middle one, to be precise. Which yes, since you asked (You did. I know you did.), does also mean the obnoxious, look-at-me-here-I-am, emotional and dramatic one.
(Really? Really with the surprise on that? I should think the pieces would be falling into place.)
Growing up, my sisters and I would ask my dad if he ever wanted sons. He'd reply, "No. I always wanted girls. Boys grow up and leave you. Girls always come home." Satisfied, we stopped asking.
When we got older and suspected that his answer, while clever and sweet, might have been a simple way to deflect an unanswerable question, we asked again.
Same answer. And we were clever enough to discern he meant what he said. Satisfied, we stopped asking.
And, we didn't need to ask. We never did.
My father never gave us any reason to think there was anything wanting in his life. He taught us to love what he loved. To love how he loved.
My love of words and knowledge and adventure all come from my father. I don't remember a day when I couldn't read, didn't have a question forming in my mind or didn't want to explore whatever it was I saw around me. I don't remember a time when I wasn't surrounded by books, didn't have a desire to wander through a museum or didn't want to see for myself the things that other people only saw in pictures.
My father taught me how to read by reading to me. My father taught me how to learn by learning with me. My father taught me how to appreciate everything around me by not hiding his wonder in everything around him. My father took me to libraries, museums, zoos, parks and landmarks large and small throughout America and Europe, and I seek them out for myself now. Because I want to. I have to. It's in my blood. It's in every breath I take.
My father taught me how to love by loving. Unconditionally. And I can't elaborate on that, because there are no qualifiers. It simply is what it is.
I could, however, elaborate endlessly on everything else my father taught me — and perhaps I already do. Everyday. Right here.
But not now.
Right now, I'm going home.