Maury Povich, Dictionaries, and Life Lessons: Father's Day from Shera White

Shera White | Jun. 20 2021

I always look forward to celebrating Father’s Day! It’s been one of my favorite holidays since I was a little girl. I always made sure to separate my dad’s gifts from the rest of the family because he was that special to me.
When I was 14 years old, I went on a trip to Mexico with my best friend. I sent my family a postcard, but my dad got his own. It had a monkey on it holding a cigar that read, “Met a rich crop grower in… MEXICO, I’m never coming back.”

My dad was the “yes parent”—he was the reason I got to go to Mexico with my friend. He created these little moments of letting me explore life from a very young age. 
I could go on forever explaining why he’s so special to me, but just to name a few, these are my top favorite things about my dad: 
His unique voice with his overly opinionated self, he always had something to say, or his dry-wit sense of humor. I also happen to look just like him, but with more hair and a face full of makeup. 
I always found it humorous that he was a die-hard Raiders fan (he always had a Raiders hat on), yet I never saw him watch Sunday football (that’s my own recollection at least). 
Or, maybe it’s the fact that he enjoyed watching trash TV more than anyone else in the house. I swear I would come home from school and hear Maury Povich saying, “You are not the father!”
It’s impossible to summarize his big personality or our relationship in one story, but let me attempt to give you a better glimpse of what it was like to grow up with my dad… 
There was no such thing as just “hanging out” or “asking him any questions.” When it came to my dad, he would always magically put you to work/clean. I recall this one time in the fourth grade I came out to his man cave (aka the garage) to ask him how to spell Mission San Juan Capistrano. He turned to me and said, “Shera, pick up that cord over there on the floor and plug it into the wall…turn it on real quick, make sure you get each corner to and from the center and back.” 
When I was done, I stood there for about 5 minutes realizing I had just vacuumed the entire carpet in the garage even though the real reason I was there was to ask him for the spelling of the word Capistrano. It didn’t end there. 
Shortly after, he quickly had more directions for me and said, “Let’s put it away correctly, grab the cord and wrap it up in a crisscross pattern,” and I went along with it, assuming that was the correct method to put it away. “Shera, just loop it around from top to bottom.” 
After I was done, again, I stood there even more confused because I forgot what I was doing there in the first place. Finally, he went on to say, “It’s spelled C A P – now go pick up the dictionary, all you need is the first three letters for that.” 
I was puzzled, but not surprised. That was my dad, always discreetly getting you to do something for him, and one might even say it’s the Aquarius in him!

I feel we often underestimate the role of our fathers, and we sometimes can get anxious to ask them for help because we view our dads as “busy men” that shouldn’t be bothered. But when it came to my dad, he always surprised me by his ability to stay calm no matter what, and he reminded me without fail of my strength, value, and why he felt I always deserved the world.
He was my go-to guy for every little problem. I could always count on him to fix the situation by making me feel loved and safe. I now have a new appreciation for when my dad used to say, “YOU’RE SHERA, THE PRINCESS OF POWER!” because I knew he meant it. The help, support, and encouragement that genuinely benefited me always came from him.
If your dad is still with you, I’d like to remind you of something: don’t take the smallest of memories for granted because you never know how meaningful those moments are to your father, even a small, simple postcard from 21 years ago. He is truly missed — every. single. day! 
Happy Father’s Day to ALL of the awesome dads, stepdads and grandads out there! 

Shera White is Project Coordinator at The Many