My dad is a drummer. Of course he has been the heartbeat of my life, a metronome keeping time, the metric against which all men are measured.
Nothing is more important in this world to him than my little sister and me. That’s an extraordinary thing to be, to even say out loud — to realize that you are someone else’s most cherished, most treasured in this world of scams and short attention spans and unending selfishness.
He is always tapping to some inaudible rhythm made visible on his knee, the steering wheel, table tops, always keeping the beat. 2/4 time, I think. 4/4? I am not a musician. I inherited none of that talent. But I look so much like him there is no mistaking I am his.
Genetics are a fascinating lottery. I inherited so little of his discipline, his easy pragmatism, his time signature. I am a clotted tangle of anxiety with no rhythm. I can only follow. I can respond to the rhythm of another and beautiful things happen like math — accurate and predictable.
I could say that everything I am is possible because of him, that he is the admiring architect of everything I am capable of because he raised me to believe that the world was mine — every choice was mine. Whom I date, whom I leave, what I major in, what I do for a living, what I quit, what I think, how I feel, where I live — all of it — it is always and only mine. He is a real feminist.
“You have your mother’s sixth sense,” he states like a fact when we talk about The Gift of Fear. “I don’t care if you can prove anything. That doesn’t matter. Your instincts are sound.”
He has been both soldier and officer. A lot of people lie on their resumes out of perceived necessity but he actually is both a team player and a natural leader.
He is a retired colonel. A two-time veteran with a daughter born on Veterans Day and a civilian career in helping children with learning disabilities and speech impediments. Yet.
“You girls are my most important job,” he says matter-of-factly.
I feel like I’ve accomplished so much less than he had by this age but he is always proud of me.
“You are exactly where I’ve always wanted you to be,” he tells me when I sit them down…