Life: as learned from my dad

22 Aug

So funny backstory – I had to log on to my myspace account to prep for this post.  Good thing I’ve kept the same 3 passwords since 7th grade so I could still log-in (probably something NOT to share with the general public) Also just kind of funny to mention – my last post on my myspace page was July 8, 2006 10:32pm entitled “Have you ever had Jell-o come out your nose” …  I’ll give you one line from the post: 

…when the old woman at the buffet line takes a break from telling us her life story, I turn to Trav and show him my new undiscovered talent of how I can suck these enormous Jell-o cubes into my mouth…

Why am I single?? I honestly have no idea…

ANYWAYS – this post is inspired by a post Heather did in honor of her dad who taught her how to make the perfect hotdog (read it here; she is AMAZING and I recommend following her blog). So in light of remembering my dad who passed 5 years ago this Friday, I’d like to share with you something he wrote in a card to me on my 17th birthday:

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it

Life is a beauty, admire it

Life is a dream, realize it

Life is a challenge, meet it

Life is a game, play it

Life is a promise, fulfill it,

Life is sorrow, overcome it

Life is luck, make it

Life is life– fight for it!

Super cute, right?  Also a little heavy if you know my dad’s story, but I thought I’d share some funny memories I have of my dad that go with his words on life… because let’s be real, the guy was a goofball

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it – when I think of opportunity, I think of careers and coming from my dad, I think of what some would call a “hiccup” in his career.  He had flown helicopters in the marines before I was born, and throughout my childhood I understood him to work for Top Gun in San Diego (cue Top Gun anthem music here) to teach the teachers of the pilots how to teach?  Did I get that right?  Regardless… pretty baller.  Until he was laid off.  Coupled with the lay-off were a few drive by shootings at my brother’s high school which caused my dad to rethink living in San Diego altogether.  He moved us to Seattle because it had one of the best public school districts in the country where my brother and I could grow up with more opportunities and in a safe environment.  He did this by taking a job managing a Burger King for a year or so.  Here you have an ex-marine officer learning terms like FOG… which stands for “first off the grill.”  You have a man with numerous degrees crawling through children’s play toys inspecting them for safety.  A Top Gun alum teaching a special needs coworker how to direct traffic into the store parking lot to generate business.   The best of all – he was managing this BK when the Disney movie, Pocahontas, came out… to this day I still cringe when I hear “can you paint with all the colors of the wind” and I know he would too.  Who would have thought opportunity could come from a Burger King in Bellevue… my dad did.

Life is a beauty, admire it Dad loved “little known facts” and chose to share them at every opportunity.  I think most dads find pleasure in this, so mine was no different.  One night, dad was driving me and my brother home and there was a gorgeous sunset settling on the peak of Mt. Rainier.  Dad, in his ‘little known fact’ voice (which I conveniently recall sounding exactly like Clark Griswald) goes “Kids?  Do you know where the last place the sun sets in the contiguous 48 states?”  My brother and I look at each other… look out the window… look at each other again… contiguous? look at dad, and my brother answered in an equally ‘Griswald’ voice and says: “ummm I don’t know dad, is it Mt. Rainier?”  Dad was so proud and had no idea how we knew that.  Beauty.  Admired it.

Life is a dream, realize it – every night dad came home, and every night insisted watching the 6 o’clock news with Peter Jennings.  Every night, he would fall asleep and every night I would wait till I heard him snore to change the channel and watch anything else.  Every night,  he would wake up as soon as the channel changed, and every time be offended that I would be so disrespectful.  I’m not the only kid in America that has suffered from this – the Katch daughters completely mastered the change-the-channel-while-dad’s-sleeping tactic… I’ll let you ask them 😉  Meanwhile, I think my dad just dreamed of Peter Jennings 🙂

Life is a challenge, meet it – one of my favorite dad stories had to do with his home projects.  Oh goodness…. that guy.  Home projects were quite the challenge for him… well, mainly just finishing them.  I’m not sure what instigated this, but mom was upset with dad for leaving one of these projects unfinished and said it absolutely had to be done by the time she got home from her errands – that would be in about an hour.  DJ had the great idea to play a prank on dad and delay his project just a little further; he somehow managed to tie our parents’ bedroom door to my door across the hall in a way that my dad was unable to leave his bedroom.  DJ and I sat outside the door in the hall giggling as my dad, in a panic was trying to find ways to break out of his room to avoid the wrath of mom.  Finally, my dad happened to find a set of tools in his bedroom and managed to remove the door entirely from its hinges.  He steps out of his room, door in hand with a huge goofy grin on his face… proud to have outsmarted his two kids.  As he’s grinning and standing in the hallway with holding his door – mom walks in and its the first thing she sees.  DJ and I immediately retreated into our rooms.  Life challenges.  Met.

Life is a game, play it – Dad and I always played games together.  We loved to play chess, tennis, golf, snake, but most of all… backgammon.  Even when he was unable to communicate, we would still play backgammon together.  And I always beat him 😉  Games.  Played it.

Life is a promise, fulfill it – Every kid goes thru their “no really… but do you promise” phase.  I remember one time when I was younger he told me something and my response was what I described above – my dad told me that he would never promise me anything and that I should take him for his word; that if he says it, then he means it.  After he passed, I came across Matthew 5:34-37 and flashed back to that conversation… Not promises, but words: fulfilled.

Life is sorrow, overcome it – When I think of sorrow, I think of tears and I rarely remember seeing my dad cry.  I do however remember as a kid when I would go jump on him to wake him up on Saturday mornings (typically this meant pretending his back was a surfboard and singing Surfin’ USA… I was a California kid through and through!) his eyes would water when he woke up (note: not crying) and my young, tender heart would ask why he was crying… his response was always: “because you’re so beautiful”  awwwwwwww…  the same guy also drank his coffee black, but would ask me to add some sugar to it, which meant he wanted me to swirl my pinky finger around in his coffee mug to taste.  Everyone together now: AWWWWW 😉

Life is luck, make it – When my parents were looking to buy a house in San Diego (before I was born), my dad put the point of a compass on Jack Murphy Stadium (where the Padres played – now Qualcomm) and drew a circle – my parents’ goal was to live within that circle.  My mom will tell you she had to extend it so it stretched beyond the parking lot… those goofballs.  That being said, I grew up going to a lot of Padre games.  Every game we went to, dad had “his” parking spot… which was in the stadium lot as far away from the stadium as possible.  Same spot.  Every game.  DJ and I always complained about this until we realized that we never once had to sit in traffic to get home.  Win and win.  Some might just call that lucky 😉

Life is life– fight for it! – this is too much to explain and too personal to put in a blog post, but ask me about it and I will happily tell ❤

Love you all dearly and to my friends and family in Seattle – if you’re around this weekend, please get in touch and I would love to see you ❤

I leave you with some awesome, mostly awkward, but some cute… family photos:


6 Responses to “Life: as learned from my dad”

  1. E Peters August 23, 2011 at 7:35 am #

    Haha… my LKFs never got the respect they deserved…except when I was with your dad. I remember ping-ponging facts back and forth with him. He certainly made me feel special!

  2. Heather Vandenengel August 23, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    Sarah, this is so sweet and funny. I definitely never mastered the “change the channel while dad is sleeping” trick either. Great photos too! Dude as a young pup…aww. ❤

  3. James August 23, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

    Hi Sarah,

    Sorry we can’t be there this weekend, but you know that you and your family are some of my dearest friends. I wouldn’t trade the Iversons for anyone, and I know your dad is proud of the legacy he left. I remember with great joy all the time our families spent together and the memory of your dad will never leave us. He has his eternal reward, let this time be filled with happiness more than sorrow.

    Love you all,

  4. Cutler August 25, 2011 at 1:50 am #

    Hard to beleive it is 5 years. He was a dear friend and we all have many cherished memories together. Watching you, Sarah, Erin and keri all grow up together was such a treasure for Dad and me. I miss him but always know I am there for you and Sarah. Love you all and will be thinking of you this weekend even more than usual.

    Love, Cutler

  5. adoptingmama August 31, 2011 at 12:32 am #

    Love you my darling, sweet Sarah girl!


  1. Updates! (and insight into what my life has come to) « highfiverson - September 9, 2011

    […] we remembered the 5 year anniversary of my dad’s passing – my own dad memories posted here.  Thanks to everyone at home for being such a great family to me and really just for being […]

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