Hey! Today’s guest post is from a good friend of mine, Tracy Wilk. She shares the lessons she learned from her late father, Bruce Wilk. These are the kind of lessons that only a parent can teach their child. Learning about Bruce through Tracy’s words, stories and memories, have been an honor and I’m so grateful that she is sharing this post with all of you today.
I have learned more in my 28 years of life from my Dad than most people do in a lifetime. I like to think my Dad taught me how to work, but really my Dad taught me how to live.
My dad was the first person to teach me how to ride a bike. I don’t remember all the details, but I do remember the day I first rode without training wheels. As the baby in my family, I was scared to ride down the open road alone. However in typical, my Dad fashion, he knew I could do it. He knew that I was ready. So he promised me the Hanukkah gift I was asking my parents for (which probably was already purchased anyway) if I tried. Just like that, I was riding down the road and I never looked back.
My Dad wasn’t your typical guy. He wasn’t exactly easy to strike up a conversation with or the guy you’d want to crack open a beer with. But, he was most likely the kindest guy in the room. Free from prejudice or judgement, if you were cool in his book, you were cool.
He taught me not to trust everyone, which the older I get the more I see how right he was. He taught me to stand up for myself, but with dignity and honesty. He never believed in shortcuts or the easy way out. In fact, when my sister and I just wanted the easy way out, we would call Mom. Dad was always loving, but a little tougher, a little more brash, and a lot less bullshit. When Dad gave you advice (or if you knew him, told you what to do), you listened.
Dad spent his whole life fixing people. When we reflect now, I think it’s because he himself was broken. He lived a childhood that wasn’t easy, with memories that brought back pain and heartache. I think he was also drawn to a career in medicine and science because it was factual. Much like him, science was honest. He showed me how to lead an honest life.
When I became a Chef, my Dad was always weary. It was because he knew it would be a hard life. But the irony is, I learned to love food and wine because of him. My baking career really started with my practice rounds for my Dad. If there’s one thing we all knew my Dad for, it was his love of a party. He taught me that a celebration should start with champagne and every meal should end with chocolate cake. And to celebrate all of the little moments, because the little ones are what become the big memories.
This is my first Father’s Day without you, Dad. Today I’m going to listen to your favorite music (well, just some, because I don’t have enough time in one day to listen to all of it). I’m going to raise a glass of bubbles to you. I’m going to order the chocolate cake. And I’m going to spend it with your favorite people in the world, the Wilk girls.
I love you Daddy. Thank you for teaching me how to live.