It’s Father’s Day, and I consider myself very blessed to be surrounded by 3 remarkable fathers in my life - my dad, my stepdad, and my husband. Fathers fill so many roles, often acting as a guardian, a friend, and a mentor. From watching my husband have tea parties with our little girls to remembering fishing trips with my stepdad, there are many joyful memories to be shared. When it comes to making a budget and finance, I can honestly say I learned a lot from all of the men in my life. Of course, some of those lessons go so much further than just money.
When I was little, my dad told my brother and I that we were taking a road trip. We were going to see Mt. Rushmore, visit the Badlands in South Dakota, and climb a mountain or two. He decked out the Jeep Cherokee with a power hook up, a small tv, and the Nintendo and told us to pack some toys we wanted to take. We’d be leaving early the next morning. My brother gathered together his favorite Nintendo games, probably a GI Joe or two and went to sleep. I collected every stuffed animal I could find, stuck them all in my sleeping bag and hoped for the best. Around 4 AM the next morning, my dad carried my brother out to the Jeep, and proceeded to empty out my sleeping bag. After agonizing over which toy I had to have with me, we climbed in the jeep and headed west.
We did all of the things he told us we’d do. We stayed at campgrounds, went horseback riding, and climbed a few mountains. We hiked across what felt like a desert in the Badlands, and named our own monuments - one dinosaur shaped boulder comes to mind and marked the halfway point. We watched a buffalo walk down the middle of the road in Yellowstone National Park until he took particular interest in a car a few spots in front of us and proceeded to rock it in an impressive show of strength. We argued with each other as played Nintendo games in the back of the jeep while Dad navigated us to our next adventure, with every bump in the road threatening to reset the game. We had a blast, and we discovered a love for the great outdoors. We were young, we were happy, and we took a lot for granted. We built memories.
Looking back on that trip as I grow older, with kids of my own, I can appreciate the tremendous amount of planning and effort involved. This was before GPS or Google Maps. I don’t know if we ever lost our way, but I suspect if we did it became just another adventure on the itinerary. And I can appreciate the amount of money that had to go into that trip too. But the thing I appreciate the most is that my dad wanted to give my brother and I the gift of the outdoors. He wanted us to camp out, hike up a mountain and see nature in all of its splendor. To him, it was important, so he took the time, the effort, and the money to make it happen. That trip wasn’t just a summer vacation, it was a dream accomplished, and watching the man I loved and admired above all others achieve that dream is an inspiration that I still hold onto today. Happy Father’s Day. I’m Claire, the Afena blog mom. Thanks for reading.