1. You always put family first. You started work at 3 a.m. just so you could finish by the time my sister and I came home from school.
2. You taught me to never give up, regardless of how hard it gets. I will always remember our 5 a.m. morning runs. When I wanted to stop you said, “Just keep running. Run slowly, but don’t start walking.” It is because of those runs that I was able to finish a marathon.
3. You are the best chef ever. Every time I leave a restaurant I am slightly disappointed because I know your cooking is 100% better.
4. You pushed me to excel. I remember being grounded for two weeks for every “C” I brought home on any assignment; however, I learned to work and try harder.
5. You have the coolest hobbies. I mean who doesn’t love a winemaker?!? (Note: We better start working on the wine for my future wedding!)
6. Your love for Mama is still visible each and every day. Even after being married for over 20 years. It’s the kind of love I hope to find one day.
7. You taught me about God. You always managed to fit prayer into your daily schedule. I hate being late to church because I always remember you saying “You only go to mass once a week. Go for God and don’t be late. It’s only once a week.”
8. You took our family across the country on camping trips. Visiting almost every state in a full minivan and trailer showed me how beautiful the world is. Even better, we all grew closer together because of course no electronics were allowed on these trips.
9. We barely have any photos of you because you took the role of “cameraman” so that my mom, sisters, and I could always have a memoir.
10. You wake up super early every morning. Although I love sleeping in, enjoying the peacefulness of morning is even better.
11. You make the best cup of coffee.
12. When I wasn’t tall enough to do all the fun rides at amusement parks, you went on the spinning teacups with me. Even though you get terrible motion sickness.
13. You always encouraged an active lifestyle, so I learned a ton of sports from you. Although you weren’t into American football or baseball, I had the privilege of learning skiing. And each ski trip has a million stories to tell.
14. When I’m sad, you always manage to find a positive side and make me laugh.
15. You taught me to be classy and never settle for less.
16. You know the map of Chicago like the back of your hand. You are the first person I call when I get lost and need directions.
17. You taught me to respect my parents and elders. Although I often disagree with you, you are right 99.9% of the time.
18. When I got into my first and only car accident, you came to the rescue.
19. You worked twice as hard so that Mama could stay home and raise my sisters and me. I would be nowhere near where I am today if Mama wasn’t by my side every day.
20. You are everything I strive to be, which is why I will always be daddy’s girl.