Thank you for treating me with the respect all women deserve and teaching me that all women deserve respect. Thank you for raising me in a way where the only “daddy issue” I have is holding all men to a high standard. For coming home and not plopping down on the couch with a beer because you were under some misconception that you were the only one who had a long day. Thank you for giving mom the reprieve she needed to not kill my brother and me. Thank you for treating her as an equal partner in life, not just the wife to your man. Thank you for never seeing her as the sole child raiser. For not just bringing home the bacon, but cooking it too. Thank you for washing the dishes every night, and doing the laundry, not just taking out the trash.
Thank you for teaching me the value of hard work and that jobs are not gendered. Thank you for expecting me to take out the recycling, empty the dishwasher, and lift my own suitcase. For never treating me like a delicate flower just because I am a girl and for being the first Hillary supporter in our family.
Thank you for believing in me when I did not believe in myself. For expecting more from me than I thought possible but you knew achievable. Thank you for never being disappointed in me when my best fell short of the goal and for defining success by effort not benchmarks. Thank you for allowing me to follow my dreams even when they are not something you understand. Thank you for making me still be practical and take Econ (even though I hated every minute of it).
Thank you for running with me. For slowing your pace and valuing togetherness over speed. For checking the weather where I am and calling to tell me I shouldn’t run in that heat. Thank you for showing up when you could. To track meets and school conferences, but also in daily life. There is a difference between being physically present and being an active participant. Thank you for knowing the difference. Thank you for being perceptive enough to know when I needed you to stand silently as I mentally prepared for an approach, or embrace me after a bad attempt. You might not have always gotten it right, but the fact that you cared enough to try is all that counts.
Thank you for learning to not be afraid of my tears. For not running from the girly things. For being brave enough to buy me tampons. For never ever explaining away a bad mood by it being “that time of the month.” For listening to me talk about my teenage girl trivialities but never treating them as such. For calling me on my bullshit and giving me perspective. Thank you for never making me feel small.
Thank you for taking mom on dates and cooking chili. For never letting her forget how special she is and never taking her for granted. For hand written cards every holiday and random hello texts when we’re far apart. For learning how to talk about your feelings. For making me listen to NPR, Car Talk, The Presidents. For taking me for bagels every Saturday morning and giving me the luxury to look back on my childhood fondly.
Thank you for letting me be myself. For not pressuring me to follow in your footsteps. For pep talks. For expecting a lot from me, but never too much. Thank you for not spoiling me. For saying no to me. For yelling at me when I text while crossing the street. For teaching me the satisfaction of earning things myself through dedication and grit. Thank you for teaching me humility. For leading by example.
Thank you for teaching me what a quality man is. For setting me up to value myself and respect myself and never settle. To make good decisions. For teaching me to protect myself and making me feel safe. Thank you for teaching me that I am an equal and for giving me freedom even when I’m sure it was terrifying for you. Thank you for never letting me fear the world and for making me feel that the world is mine for the taking if I put in the work.
Most of all, thank you for recognizing that the best thing you can do for a little girl is to instill in her a fiery sense of possibility by telling her that she can do anything.