Anyone who knows my dad knows that he is the most humble, generous, kind-hearted, forgiving, camera-shy, driven, selfless, extremely successful, wonderful human being on earth. He is everything anyone could ever want in a father and I promise you I am not just saying that because he is my dad. Never seeking praise, recognition or fame, my dad goes above and beyond for me, my sister and my mom…all because he wants us to be happy.
Daddy: thank you. I hope you know how much I love you, need you, cherish you, and if you don’t, I hope you’ll know all those things after this.
1. Let’s start with the obvious. You make up 50% of my genetic material. Without you, I wouldn’t be right-handed, stubborn (well, I think I have both you and mom to thank for that one), type “B”, gentle-hearted, deeply sensitive to how others feel, and quiet yet forceful.
2. I inherited your “travel-sense.” I’ve had this long before I full-time traveled last year and I have you to thank for that. I’m not patient anywhere else in life EXCEPT when it’s December 22nd and I have to work with a customer service representative at the United counter, it’s snowing in Chicago, all flights are cancelled and all I want to do is be home for Christmas. The patience I exhibit in this situation…that’s all you. I also inherited your sixth sense of choosing which security line to pick and how to breeze through said security line all with a smile on my face and a conversation topic guaranteed to make a TSA worker laugh.
3. The way you (and of course mom) raised me and Stephanie was the best way anyone could ever be raised. We always had everything and more that we needed and wanted and yet, I like to think at least, we’re still down to earth and humble. The two of us have you to thank for that. This has taught me how to behave throughout my adult life and appreciate everyone for who they are and not necessarily where they come from.
4. I underestimate (still) the cost of my upkeep. From diapers and Barbies to tuition, clothes, gas money, and mini (major!) temper tantrums of me wanting something…you always went above and beyond for me to grow up happy, healthy and with everything I need. You still continue to do this today.
5. When I was between the ages of two and 10, you played dress-up with me. I still remember this and I now know that it takes a man who is absolutely in love with his daughter to put on ridiculous gloves, hats and necklaces just so she is happy. I will always cherish these memories and this is a quality I expect my future husband to have.
6. You have shown me throughout my 24 years what true love really is by the way that you love mom. With that being said, thank you for telling me repeatedly while growing up and even more so now that a lot of men in the world are not worthy of my love and attention and thank you for meaning it. Thank you for showing me exactly the kind of man who I deserve to marry and that he should feel lucky that I picked him.
7. You listen to me. You hear what I have to say. You appreciate my opinion. As a woman growing up in the 21st century, you taught me that men should treat me no differently than they would any other man, especially in the business world.
8. You went to the dealership with me when I bought my first car. You helped me eyeball, test drive, pick out, negotiate, and made sure that a naïve 24-year-old would not be roped into something ridiculous. You assured me I was doing the right thing when my overthinking almost got the best of me as signed my life away on a million contracts and you meant it.
9. Through my more ditzy moments (“How does that plane have guns big enough to shoot tanks?”) to my moments of overanalyzing, you have taught me one of life’s greatest lessons: it’s okay to laugh at yourself.
10. You saved money. Not to buy luxury cars or watches, but to bring us to the places in the world we wanted to go. For as far back as I can remember, we’ve always traveled as a family and that even further enriched my childhood, enhanced my imagination, provided me with priceless memories, gave me the opportunity to see the world from many different perspectives, fueled my eventual wanderlust ambition, and allowed me to grow into a woman who seeks to understand the world she lives in while also striving to learn more about it and change it for the better.
11. You’re the kind of dad who, after I mouthed off and picked a fight with you, still fills up my gas tank when I have a five hour drive ahead of me, I’m broke, tired, and running on fumes.
12. You always called. When you were away for business, which was a lot more frequent as I was growing up, you called home every night to ask me about my day, what I learned in school, how soccer practice was, who I played with at recess, what mom made for dinner, what math problem I was struggling with. Looking back, it never seemed like you were ever gone on those business trips, it felt like you were always with us.
13. My dreams became more important than yours and I don’t know how to ever repay you for that and you wouldn’t want me to.
14. You always believed in me especially when I didn’t believe in myself and that is when I need someone to believe in me the most.
15. As an adult and father, you conquered your childhood fear of skiing and started skiing again when Stephanie started. This not only allowed us to enjoy a pastime as a family, but it also taught me that a person is never too old enough to number one: have fears no matter who they are and number two: conquer them.
16. Sometimes, when mom and I get too caught up in whatever we’re arguing about, you are able to listen to me through all my jumbled words and tears and then calmly explain to me mom’s side in a way that makes me understand her better. I have no doubt you do the same with her about me.
17. You’re one of the only people in my life who I can be super goofy with. You’re the person I can be completely and utterly ridiculous with, and instead of judging me, you egg me on and join in.
18. You embrace all of my friends as your own. You quickly learn about them, their names, their likes and dislikes, and develop a rapport with each one of them. You know and understand that my friends are a huge part of my life and so you go out of your way to make them part of yours because you know how important they are to me.
19. Thank you punishing me when I mess up, holding me accountable for my actions and teaching me that in order to succeed in life, I need to play by the rules. Thank you for every timeout on the stairs, every lecture throughout high school and every grounding because it was that tough love that has guided me into the becoming the person I am today.
20. It’s true dad, that I’ll never forget my first love and that’s because my first love is you. Thank you for never breaking my heart.
21. Lastly, thank you for believing, for hoping, for smiling, for laughing, for teaching, for playing, for supporting, for witnessing, for joking, for showing, for loving, for prying. In short, thank you for everything. You are a great dad and I would be lucky to be even half of the parent that you are one day and if I ever am, I owe half of that to you and the other half to mom…but that post will come in April!
I love you.