I meant to hit publish on this the other day...technical difficulties. Not that it really matters - I'm thankful for Dad everyday.
"He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it." Clarence Budington Kelland
That quote always makes me think of my Dad.
My Dad wasn't much for sitting me down and telling me stuff. He didn't lecture, or scold, or huff. He still isn't, though I sometimes deserve a good talking-to. He's quiet, unassuming, and will move mountains to avoid conflict. My Dad is smart, funny, successful, responsible, hard-working, and lives his life with morals and ethics that most couldn't even hope to achieve.
If you're smart enough to pay attention, my dad sets a tremendous example for how to live a wonderful life. He teaches by example, which is why that quote is so fitting.
Dads are a great thing (mostly - I know a few who are not so great). They provide for and protect their family. Traditionally, it's the dad's role to make sure his kids have what they need. I didn't grow up in a traditional household; my Dad was my father and my mother. So he had to make sure I had what I needed - plus everything else.
I didn't truly appreciate all that my Dad had done for me until I became an adult. I'm not even really sure when it happened. I simply came to realize how much he had sacrificed, how much he had taught me, and how lucky I was to have him for a father.
Thank you, Dad. Thank you for reading to me at night, even before I can remember, and for making me read words back to you. Thank you for letting me sleep with a night-light, and making sure I had a bed-time. Thank you for making sure I did my homework, but never doing it for me. Thank you for never letting me win at a board-game - even if we were playing Stratego and Othello when I was five.
Thanks for trying to teach me to play Poker - sorry that didn't take. Some things skip a generation. Thank you for teaching me the value of a dollar by giving me a budget to spend on school clothes. Thank you for also being very generous with that budget. Thank you, too, for all the bailouts and help over the years, when the whole "value of a dollar" thing has gotten a little fuzzy.
Thank you for teaching me how to work hard - and also how to work smart, so that eventually, I wouldn't have to work so hard. Thanks for teaching me how to drive - and then making me buy my own car. Thanks for coming to all those awful school concerts - and for listening to me practice flute at home, even if you did ask that I do it in my bedroom with the door shut.
Thanks for never snooping, but instead trusting that I would either make good decisions, or find good advice. Thanks for not laughing at me when I made mistakes, anyway, and for helping me out when I did. Thanks for being one of the first people on the planet to own a personal computer, and for teaching me how to use one before many of my friends could write their own name.
Thank you for dragging me to the cemetery to visit family memorials every year. Thank you for keeping in touch with our extended family, even after divorce. Thank you for teaching me the value of family, in its many forms.
Thank you for teaching me to love and respect, rather than to judge and hate. Thank you for teaching me that I'm not better than anyone, and if I think I am, that automatically makes me worse.
Thank you for everything that you did for me growing up, and for all that you continue to do for me now that I'm an "adult." I'm lucky to call you Dad - and even more honored to call you friend.