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Daniel - Poker Journal

I dun' been Readin'

14 Jul 2010

I'll try to keep this relatively short otherwise it will turn into a book. I've been reading an interesting book recently and I haven't put it down. It made me reflect on family, and how much your childhood shapes you into the person you become.

It made me think of my family. I was so insanely lucky it's hard to put into words. I really had it good. My father was my hero, a superman, and a best friend. He was always the life of the party and people loved being around him. My mother, who many of you have likely seen on a show here and there before she passed, was that super sweet caring woman who basically just wanted to feed the world!

My mother and father were very different, but they had their similarities too. They both were very good hosts when it came to parties. My mom kept bringing food and didn't take no for an answer, and my dad could spot an empty glass from across the room and would fill it before someone asked. They were a great team. I never questioned their love for me, they always showed me love... without fail.

I think that team attitude helped them when it came to raising me and my brother. It was different times, and they had clearly defined roles. My father brought home the money, and my mother took care of the cooking and cleaning. My mother wanted it that way, and so did he. It worked for them since they both felt appreciated.

My mother didn't feel like it was a "chore" to take care of the house and the kids, she made it her life's work. I know my father appreciated what she did, but most importantly, she knew. That's where a lot of people go wrong I think. It's not shameful to have a role, but it feels that way if you are treated like garbage and don't feel appreciated. I think that's true in all facets of life whether it's work related or just among friends. No one wants to feel taken advantage of.

People rarely commit selfless acts. Even giving is usually a selfish act, because giving makes you feel GOOD. That's usually the motivation for giving, to make you feel good about yourself and to help someone in need. Usually when you give to someone, you expect some kind of response in return. I'm not talking about giving money either, it relates to everything. When you make sacrifices for other people, how they respond to that sacrifice will dictate whether you'd ever do something like that again.

My parents were pretty good with stuff like that. They had a mutual respect for each other that shaped my view of how to treat people. They were very similar in one way, and I absolutely carry this trait to a T. My parents were extremely good to people they liked and cared about, but they could also be pretty nasty to people they either didn't respect, or felt were disrespectful towards them.

Obviously, I live my life very similarly. I don't feel the need to get along with everyone. Personally, I'm just not all that interested in phony relationships with people I don't want to associate with. For some people, conflict is scary and they try to avoid it as much as possible. I'm obviously not that guy! There are plenty of examples where I've been outspoken about things or people I don't like, and that's not a part of my personality I ever plan on changing. I like being that way because it helps me sleep at night. If I don't like you, you'll know. I generally make that very obvious, but sometimes people don't get the hint.

I feel good about that because you know when I actually do like you, it's genuine and not fake. You don't have to wonder if I'm your friend, because you know that if I wasn't, I wouldn't waste my time with you. I don't expect everyone to think like I do, but it's the way I was raised and I have no desire to change that. That's how my parents were and as is normally the case, that's how I'm going to see things.

Brings back some funny memories... my mother, the sweet, sweet, woman most of you would know, could be a real tyrant! When she didn't like someone, MAN did she let them know! I used to think it was cute how she'd curse in Romanian calling them every name in the book, then moments later when she'd see someone she did love she'd give them that big grin and likely offer them something to eat. Dude, it didn't matter the situation, my mother always had some kind of food/snacks available to feed you. You could be in line at the bank and my mother would pop out a bagel with cream cheese or some pretzels for you! She was the best...

So I'm digging this book. It really clarifies a lot of thing for me and helps make me understand how lucky I am, while at the same time being empathetic to people who grew up in broken homes with sometimes alcoholic or drug addicted parents. Since your parents are such a major influence in who you become as a man/woman, I guess it feels a little unfair to those people with deadbeat dads or absentee mothers.

Whether you like it or not, the friends you choose and the relationships you develop are directly linked to what you saw as a child. If your parents were abusive towards each other, it's likely that you'll grow up thinking that's normal behavior. Ultimately, most people end up following in the footsteps of their parents. Not always, but more often then not, you'll end up with what you know.

I miss my parents very much. I wish my father could have seen Vegas, man, he would have loved it. He really loved life, he loved people (most of them anyway), and he definitely loved me, my brother, and my mother.

My mother lived 13 years alone after my father died, and naturally she clinged to both me and my brother. She lived with me when I first moved to Vegas, but after I'd had some success I told her she could buy a house... not surprisingly, she found a spot just 5 minutes from my place. She was a constant presence in my life and I never went more than a day without at least talking to her on the phone.

I'm very thankful that I was raised the way I was, and while missing them is hard, it's a part of life and I accept it. They have done their job and prepared me for "life" and that's all you could really ask for. It's not their fault they are gone.