It’s Official. I Am My Dad.

As I sat the other day getting my hair cut by a neighbor instead of at a big salon in order to save a few bucks, it hit me.

I am my father.

As I decided to stop taking my work shirts to the cleaners the other day in order to save some money, it hit me.

I am my father.

As I walked through the house shutting off lights, ceiling fans and various other unused appliances, it hit me.

I am my father.

I guess thriftiness is genetic.

As I grew up, my dad rarely bought himself new clothes, did anything outlandish for himself and even reused aluminum foil and plastic baggies from this lunch. (Shhh. Don’t tell him I told you that. That’s a trusted family secret.) He also had a co-worker cut his hair, ironed his own clothes and I can still hear him yelling from the basement, “Turn off the LIGHTS!!!!!”

Now I understand, Dad.

What he did do was turn his sacrifices into a comfortable life for my sister and I. We were involved in more activities in one year than most kids were involved in over a decade. And now that I’m a parent, I understand just how much those activities cost. Unfortunately at the time, I didn’t appreciate it or thank him. I didn’t know any better. Now I do.

Thanks Dad.

And the greatest “thank you” I can give, Dad, is to do the same for my kids. Each month I put aside money in the budget for clothes. Not for me, even though I’ve worn the same shoes to work for the past 15 months. It’s more important that my children have new, comfortable shoes for their ever-expanding feet.

I am my father in another important way — my respect for and near obsession with budgeting.

When I was about 8 or 9 I remember asking my dad why we needed a new washing machine and how much one cost. That led to him getting out a notebook and showing me how to do a family budget. This is a man who gave me an allowance at the age of 6 — .50. That was enough to buy a pack of baseball cards for a quarter and, as he demanded, save a quarter. Times have definitely changed.

It was obvious that my father lived around a budget. And, now, so do I.

Sure, Excel is helpful but I prefer a good, old-fashioned ledger book where I can make notes, adjustments and look back at previous budgets for guidance.

Realizing that we have become our parents — in a few or many aspects of life can be overwhelming, frightening or comforting. Our parents’ traits, words, beliefs and values eventually become ours, sometimes despite our best intentions. I am my father because as I’ve grown older and begun to parent my own children, I adopted many of his mantras on work ethic, being involved in our community, thirsting for knowledge, parenting with a mix of fun and discipline and figuring out ways to give my children what they want, need and dream of.

That is all good.

But there is one fundamental difference between my dad and I.

He saved a lot more money on haircuts. At 42, I still have (pretty much) a full head of hair, requiring monthly trims. Him? By 42, his hair had seen much better days.

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The Beginning
About Happiest Daddy

Two boys, one wife and a ton of material. I live for family and I’m one of the most blessed people you will ever meet.

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