My dad is a pretty awesome guy. As much as I hate to admit it, I didn’t realize just how awesome until my mom left him almost two years ago. They’d been married nearly 27 years when she packed up her stuff, moved an hour and a half away, and left my dad to parent my 17-year-old sister and 14-year-old brother.
I’ve never been so proud of my dad. He’s gotten involved in my brother’s education, taken requests for trips to the grocery store, and started cooking dinner every night. He bought Christmas gifts, stocking stuffers, and even made a holiday dinner. The last two years have helped me recognize the things he’d always done for us that I was never aware of. I’m sorry I didn’t recognize how lucky I am sooner.
I have so many happy memories—lessons he’s taught me, things we’ve done together, and snapshots of growing up as his oldest little girl. He taught me to pay attention to my surroundings, to make every day count, and—if I’m ever attacked—to “kick ’em where it counts.” I remember walks in the woods, early mornings at First Class Auto, and the way he cried when I got married. He’s convinced he’s a world-class singer, a total stud, and a rocket scientist. He always laughs when he retells the story of three-year-old me telling him to wait because “I can’t put my damn boots on.” And he gets a kick out of telling me I’m just like him.
I hated hearing that growing up. The last thing a teenage girl wants to hear is that she’s just like her lame old dad (no offense, Dad). But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized it’s not necessarily a bad thing. I have so much respect for my dad—for overcoming some pretty awful life experiences, for always providing for his family, for being the perfect example of what hard work looks like. He’s a great combination of heart, dedication, and that wonderful metallic auto shop smell, and I am so blessed to be his daughter.
Dad, I love you. I am so thankful for everything you’ve done for me. And I am so excited to see you follow Jesus. Thank you for always being there, always providing, and always catching my tears and putting them in your pocket.