Inspiration: Where I found mine.
My Dad holding my new born son
What is inspiration and where is it found? Some people look up up to sports stars, actors, or other famous celebrities, I truly look up to my Dad. This may sound cliche, but without my Dad I can't say I'd be anywhere near where I am today. I am the parent and person I am today because my Father overcame adversity and never gave up. He instilled in me always what hard work and a positive attitude can get you...he was right.
Who was he and where did he come from?
My Dad, George Dooley, was born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island on May 7th 1948 to George and Ruth Dooley. He grew up in a time when nothing was taken for granted, because it couldn't. As hard of workers as my Grandparents were, times were tough. Assembly and factory work was essentially all that was offered to people with no education and they always struggled to make ends meet. My Dad was the oldest of the kids and took on a lot of responsibility at an early age. He himself had to work every day after school to help with the family bills. Nothing was taken for granted ( a lesson he tried to teach me my entire existence but never heard until later in my life.) At 18 it was off to the military, rather then being drafted he enrolled in the Air force where through a stroke of luck his orders to go to Vietnam were changed at the last minute. He would spend his time between Germany and Turkey during his 4 years of service where he met a lot of his best friends even to this day. Once his term was up, he made the decision not go back to Rhode Island but to get his education in California, a decision in which did not sit well with my Grandfather for many years. In that region and at that time, kids went to work in the mills with their Fathers, and their children's children, this was seen to be a generational legacy. My Dad wanted more for himself and his future so he chose education.
Off to California
After the hard decision to choose school over old school ways, my Dad enrolled in the local community college in Fullerton, CA. At first he chose a path in law enforcement due to his training as Military police in the Air Force but events during the job forced him to rethink his career path. He chose education, and finished his B.A. and then started his first few jobs. It was through teaching he would meet my Mom. They soon married and I was born into this world. My addition to my Dads life was a welcome one. My Mom though unfortunately was not able to overcome some addictions and a long standing battle with mental illness. Being the ever responsible parent my Dad decided to take custody of me. I wasn't more then 2 years old when my Dad decided to raise me basically on his own.
Fathering a boy into a man
As if being a single parent and working full time wasn't enough my Dad earned two Masters Degrees while raising, while he may or not agree with me "a difficult kid." This is what I always think back to when work, relationships, and life in general is tough. My Dad always had my by best interests in mind and continually worked and positioned himself into a better place to give me a better life. A life that for so long I neglected and never cared to see why I was/am who I am. You see, at 16 my Mom had finally had enough of her struggle with the mental ilness and life in general and killed herself. I remember it like it was yesterday, my Dad sitting in the chair when I returned home from school with a face I'd never seen before. This was the face of a man knowing he had to deliver heart breaking news to the person he loved most in this world, me.
After hearing this news and spending two weeks in the hospital watching her die, I really stopped caring. This was no fault to my Dad, this was my response to this life altering event that would shape my life forever. Shortly after this catastrophe I quickly drowned myself with alcohol drugs and multiple run ins with the law. I never took into account what this did to the one person who always stood by me, right or wrong, my Father. He in the coming years would have to pick me up after having been arrested or some other nefarious action, but he always did. I was able to graduate high school with a D average, but my Dad was still proud, telling me that at least I had my Diploma. I want to make this concise but it would be a long time before I started to make the right decisions and really and truly make my Dad proud.
I too, to some extent, got my act together and was able to graduate college. This time around I actually cared and graduated on the Deans list with a 3.98 GPA. Shortly after graduating I took a job in WA state and met my sons Mother who I would marry but would shortly divorce later, almost in a sense starting the cycle over.
Why I am writing this and why its important
I wrote this because my Dad was and is the most inspiring and influential person in my life. He has supported me, sacrificed for me, and loved me for no other reason then I am his son. This is an abridged version of who he is and what kind of man he is but it's important for me to put this out here. My Dad has made me want to be a better person, a better worker, a better son, and most importantly a better Father. Without his constant words of encouragement or action I may have just let my life go, but I didn't. He taught me that if you didn't fall that you would never learn to get back up. I'm fortunate to have as strong of a man and a Father as I have. I thank my lucky stars nightly that I am his son and that he is who he is. I also pray to be half as good of parent as he has been to me. If there is any measurement of true success in all facets of what it takes to be a good human being, my Father is at the top!