My dad was there for graduation and to teach me how to ride a bike. But my mom was the one who taught me how to be a man.
I grew up resenting my dad a lot because he never tried to understand who I was. My mom and I spent so much time together that I took on more feminine traits, like being sensitive and expressing my feelings. Traits that made it even harder for my dad and me to see eye to eye. So we butted heads.
I got teased a lot in school. My dad always told me to say something equally mean back, or fight. But it was my mom who told me to pick my battles; that bullying is a sign of weakness, and it’s better to kill your enemies with kindness.
Now that I’m older, I’m glad that I have my dad to model stereotypical macho male behavior, because there are times when you just need to man up. But I’m thankful to my mom for teaching me that a man can be that — and more.