Dad Said Anything Is Possible, And I Believed Him

by: Danielle Ternyila

I grew up on daydreams of success, fairytales I wrote myself, and many “life lessons” from Dad (AKA Super Dad). Be the bigger person, learn from your mistakes, respect your elders and our veterans… Then there was one of our favorite childhood lessons that came with real-life role play at every fast food drive-thru trip with “Who wants to be the distribution manager?” He taught us that a distribution manager determined when products are distributed, where to, and how much, and he even have us kids interviewing for the position to distribute our meals around the car.

The most important lesson, however, has been that anything is possible with hard work and determination. He shares this golden nugget of knowledge endlessly, but actions speak louder than words.

My life started with watching him work tireless third-shifts in warehouses; fast forward to when us kiddo’s were graduating high school, he became general manager of a warehouse for a company he loves. Watching this story unfold over the course of my life, seeing him climb the ladder from the bottom to the top, has served as the greatest example of how to succeed, be it in your career, family, relationships, or anything else that is thrown your way.

As his child, I got a front row seat to his growth from 1994 to today. Otherwise, I’ve heard so many stories of the early days, like how he managed his own thriving landscaping business out of high school and into his early twenties before an injury caused him to go blind for several months. In true “Super Dad” fashion this didn’t cause him to give up and lose hope. Essentially it made him stronger, even though it set him back and forced him to completely change his career path.

Anything is possible, and I know this because I see Super Dad continue to make literally anything possible. When you have an issue, the first call you make is to Dad. He always has the solution to any obstacle or the answer to any problem because at the end of the day, he will make anything happen.

Like when you get bumped from your 6am flight in Atlantic City to Orlando with 9 hours until the next flight. No problem. With 1 phone call, Super Dad will fly down the turnpike and get you back up to Newark airport, where he has already called and confirmed a seat for you on their 10am flight.

At 1am at age 17 you took the wrong train into the city instead of home. From 45 miles away, Dad will talk you through navigating New York Penn Station, how to find the right train and get new tickets, and will stay on the phone until 3am when you board. And because Super Dad only goes above and beyond, he even met me at the parking lot when I finally made it to New Jersey to make sure I got to my car safe.

Watching Super Dad rise up to every challenge has made me stronger and more resilient. I could not have had a greater role model to guide the way for me, and it has made me a happier person. I’ve learned to chase my dreams, never give up, and live the fullest life. I would day Super Dad is his alter ego, but that would imply that sometimes he actually returns to his average Clark Kent state, which he never seems to do. He is always wearing his cape mentally. He faces any challenge head-on the way Superman would, and this has taught me how to put my own super costume on (mentally, of course!) when I need to because anything is possible.

When I finished writing my first novel, someone told me, “You can’t really publish a book because you’re only 14.” Maybe they were right, but with my dad’s encouragement and support, I went on to publish that book anyway at age 15.

On our annual family camping trip in 2019, I saw, “Doubles Horseshoes Tournament” on the activities list. Having never tossed a shoe in my life, I told everyone I was going to win. No one believed me, but Dad was sure to remind me that anything is possible (although in this particular instance, I think it was more mocking). Nonetheless, I practiced throughout the week until the event, then Super Dad and I promptly took our titles as champions.

When I was off to college, I heard a lot of doubts about pursuing an arts degree. Even Dad was unsure of what careers would be in store for me with a BA in Writing Arts, so it was my turn to remind him that anything was possible. I took a job right after college and have been following my passions since, learning more and even educating myself more along the way to get to where I want to be. Now he has no doubts of my degree, and rumor has it, he has been known to brag about this from time to time.

An annual Father’s Day is hardly enough to celebrate the incredible dad only three of us in this world have been privileged to have, but I don’t think there will ever be enough ways to thank him for all he has given me and every phone call he answers. After all, when in doubt, just call Dad!