I think I have always been somewhat of a daddy’s girl. Probably because making the right face and batting my eyes, I could usually get my way. Thankfully I was raised to never take advantage of people; otherwise you could have been in trouble!
I have a lot of great memories growing up and definitely too many to share...
I loved building sand castles on the beach with you and I will never forget when you would air up the “Island” and we would each hold the strings through the van windows. What a site to others as we strolled on down to the beach! We were laughing and having a ball in the back of the van, as I am sure you were quite nervous up front. I can still see you run like lightning after the “Island” as it blew into traffic!
You made me feel so grown up when you would let me sit on your lap as you pushed the pedals and I steered the car. Probably not such a good idea anymore, but it made some great memories!
I remember wanting to win the pink and purple bike, but thinking it was impossible. You said something like, “Well, you never know”, and I placed my name in the drawing. It didn’t even seem like we had been home for 2 minutes when the phone rang and I had won the bike! You drove immediately back and I rode the bike all the way home following you in the van!
Another favorite memory is our family bike rides. Those were really the best! We pedaled for what seemed like miles and miles all through different neighborhoods. I remember when we found the lunch bag that some kid had evidently dropped. Jason and I followed you all around as we looked for the address just to return it. They must have thought we were nuts!
You were the one that always helped us sell our fundraiser candy. I hated asking people to do this, but you always were right by our side and never made us go alone. The best was when you would buy a chocolate caramel bar from us for $1 and we would eat it as we walked from house to house. Buying one usually meant buying two or three!
Some other favorite memories are during my high school years when I would randomly eat lunch with you in your office. Then my senior year it was pretty much every day. I loved having lunch with you and you always made me feel special. You could have been busy or running late to something, but you always made time for me.
I remember driving all over the city looking for the perfect ‘first’ car, even though it ended up being totally a lemon. I felt good it in though, and I will never forget all the times you went out of your way (again) to take me to work, take me to the mechanics, pick me up, etc. when the infamous Cougar was acting up again. Thankfully, you didn’t give up on me and helped me pick out my dream car. Looking at several Cadillac’s on the hottest days of July, we were getting discouraged. Finally, at the last stop on Lindbergh, we found ‘the one’. I’ll never forget that day when you were riding shotgun during my test drive. I parked the car to check out all the gadgets to this luxury car and you were complaining that your butt was on fire. Thankfully, it wasn’t your insides about to burst, but it was the heated seat set on high. We laughed it off while I was in awe the car even had such a thing as heated seats! I wasn’t used to luxury when all I had ever driven was an old, hail dented Honda Accord, an uncomfortable Ford Tempo, and lemon of a Mercury Cougar. You made me a car lover. You will always be the person I go to when I need to car shop or when I just want to go car browsing on a beautiful day.
While I was working full time at the Ritz-Carlton you spent a lot of your free time condo shopping with me. You would leave work early, rearrange your schedule, or drive totally out of your way just to look at one place. Because I loved it so much we even studied for our real estate license together. It would have never been the same without you in class and who would have ever thought that we would have been students together?!
You were always who I needed you to be, even when I didn’t know it. You weren’t someone who bought me things just because I wanted them, who spoiled me, who let me do whatever I wanted, or act however I wanted. You were strict with me when you needed to be. You said “no” when you had to. You disciplined me when you probably didn’t want to. You (and mom) did these things because you wanted me to turn out the best I could. You didn’t want me to take advantage of others, or be a spoiled brat. You wanted me to grow up and be able to say “no” when I felt it was wrong and not because you did. As a kid, it was hard and frustrating not being able to hang out with friends past a certain hour, or not be able to see a certain movie, but now when I look back I am so thankful to you and mom for being the way you were. It absolutely formed me into the person I am today. Thank you.
During heart failure, you were more than enough of a dad. I will never forget the times I saw the tears far back in your eyes, because you didn’t want to let them out. I cherished the gentle but strong hugs because you didn’t want to hurt my weakened frame. I will always remember the look you gave me when you just stared at me, wondering what was going to happen next. You have always been a somewhat of a worrier and I have always been the “What If? Queen”, as you deemed me. During those months of waiting for a heart, we had lots of time for both worries and what if’s. However, when I look back at those days, I don’t remember any of those. I remember you praying and claiming healing in His name. I remember you begging people to join you in prayer through blogging. I remember you going to great length to make me feel comfortable, to make me feel loved and to nourish me with anything I thought sounded yummy. I don’t remember times of worry, or ‘what ifs’ and that’s how it should be.
I cannot thank you enough for being there for me when I needed you the most. I was an adult. I was 23 years old, but completely dependent upon you and mom to live. Thank you for gathering as many warriors as you could to help us fight this battle with prayer. Thank you for coming home and asking, “How’s my girl?” Thank you noticing when I wasn’t feeling well and doing something about it. Thank you for spoon feeding me in the hospital. Thank you for helping me with my breathing treatments and trying your best to fix my hair when it was a mess. Thank you for helping me walk again and cheering me on. Thank you for your encouragement and guidance. Thank you continuing to organize the medical bills and for driving me home after the long and memorable hospital stay. Thank you for holding my hand when that is really all I needed. Thank you for being a Godly example to the watching world. Thank you for being you.
It’s been said before and I’ll say it again, “Any man could be a Father, but not every man can be a Dad”. Thanks for being the best daddy you could have ever been for me. I love you forever.
Happy Birthday Dad! You’re the best.