How do I begin? My dad is one of my two favorite men. (The other being my hubbie, thank you.) He is a good man, a good husband, and a good father. He has an innate ability to see what people need, that they may not be asking for. He loves to help people and motivate them to be the best they can be.
I learned to have big dreams from my dad. Even now, my dad talks about things he is going to do someday. It was my father who encouraged me to study and explore all the things I was interested in. It didn't matter if it was random or unrelated... from unique photography to Russian history, from exotic foods to how fireworks are made; he taught me to be curious. He reads books about anything and everything, a trait which definitely was passed on to me. As a young girl, I recognized that my father considered knowledge and wisdom to be worthwhile pursuits.
Here's a funny bit of information: the master bathroom in my parents' home has a huge whirlpool tub, but only once have I ever seen any water in it. Due to a building oversight, the water heater can't heat up enough water to actually fill up the tub. Instead, what is full of? Books. Really. Huge stacks of books fill the tub and counters, because there are never enough bookshelves to quench the thirst for knowledge. And I guarantee that my dad is actively reading at least 5 of them at a time, if not more.
I'm pretty sure I inherited the tendency to make piles and stacks from my dad (which I think he got from his father, which means I'm officially doomed).
I have fond memories of listening to books being read aloud by my dad. We went through many of the Harry Potter books that way, until my sister and I were old enough to realize that we could read them much faster by ourselves. That was probably one of my favorite things to do with my dad: gather round the fireplace, curl up with a project, and listen to Dad read to us.
Dad has an appreciation for good art, literature, and music. Few people know that my dad, the businessman, actually graduated with a double major in marketing and humanities. He was in the business school to study marketing, but he'd take one non-major "fun" class every semester. As he was about to graduate, he realized he was only a few classes shy of completing the full requirements for a humanities major- just from his classes "on the side." He taught me that college was a great educational feast, and I should enjoy a bit of everything.
My dad is the part of the reason I picked my major. My entire childhood, we talked about marketing over the dinner table: I remember discussing why the milk is at the back of the store, why brand name products are at eye level, and how certain companies were selling solutions, not stuff. It was not until I got to college that I realized that my dad had trained me to think like a marketer. Although I could study anything I want, I knew that I had both interests and skills from the things my father had taught me, and I ended up as an advertising major with a design minor (which is only a hop and skip away from marketing/humanities).
For several years in high school, dad drove me to an early morning class during the school year. It started at 6 AM, and we lived in Wisconsin- it was cold. But I saw that if Dad was willing to get himself out of bed to make sure I went every day, then this class must be worth something. Also, the accumulation of those minutes in the car, day after day, gave us lots of time to just be together. There were plenty of superficial conversations that happened on that drive, but also a few important discussions as well. I sincerely think that the time to just talk in the morning, without technology or distractions, was pivotal to our relationship.
I remember waking up for that early morning class the day after I passed the driver's test, and having my sleepy father hand me the keys. I remember he said "Don't die" which is only a slightly exaggerated version of "Be careful." And to be honest, I was terrified to drive that morning, all by myself, for the first time. But my dad's decision to trust me spoke volumes to my 16-year-old self, who so badly wanted to prove that I was nearing adulthood. I recognize that some of his decision may have been based on his own desire for sleep, but he did make the conscious decision to give some responsibility, and let me rise to the occasion. I learned a ton driving on my own in the next few weeks (it helps that the roads are mostly deserted at 5:45 in the morning) and my confidence got a much needed boost. This is just one example of how well my dad walked that fine line of parenting, between holding on and letting go. It made a huge difference to me.
As the oldest child, my dad and I had a unique relationship, one that I'm sincerely grateful for. He was and is the biggest cheerleader in my life, telling me that I can do anything I want to do, and then helping me figure out how to do it. We certainly had our hard moments, but I always knew he loved me and wanted what was best for me. Leaving home home actually brought us closer, and I spent many long nights at college discussing things on the phone with my dad.
My Dad was my best friend until I met the man who became my husband. This was a bittersweet experience for both of us: I was so in love and so happy to be marrying my (new) best friend- but my dad and I were both a little sad too. We recognized that our relationship was changing and shifting, as it should when a girl gets married. I'm happy to say that we have a good thing going on now: I am still my father's daughter, and we've figured out how to be good friends, even with the adult child relationship thing thrown in there. It's nice to know that he's still just a phone call away. Except when he's on a webinar. 🙂
My dad is a fantastic storyteller- anyone who has met my father in the business world or at church knows that he can hold the attention of an audience. He weaves them in and out of stories, taking them along for a ride. Even now, I can hear how his voice sounds when he gets excited. He starts talking faster and louder, tossing out details and information, sweeping you closer to the excitement, until suddenly, his voice drops low and quieter, leaving you waiting, wanting, and completely in his hands for the moral of the story. Man, he tells a good story.
My dad decided he wanted to work for himself when I was in fourth grade. I remember being excited that Dad would be home all the time, but sad when I realized that he wasn't any more available. However, I did learn very early about the value of hard work, because I saw first-hand the effort and hours my dad put in. The homework computer was in Dad's office, and many nights we were both up late, working side by side.
I love that my dad loves technology. It's a great thing to live in a house that appreciates fast internet, big hard drives, nice cameras, and fantastic software. Those things are important to an internet expert! (Thanks for choosing a great profession, Dad.)
My dad is known for being honest and truthful. I have watched my dad be his own boss for more than 15 years, and seen how his integrity has served him well. We do not believe in working on the Sabbath day, and I've watched my dad regularly put in 50+ hour weeks between Monday and Saturday so that he doesn't have to work on Sunday. Anyone who has run their own business knows just how much time and effort it requires, and that you never feel like you're doing enough. Yet, week after week my dad puts aside his business and gives that day to God. His commitment to this commandment does not waver. As his daughter, I can absolutely say that our family has been blessed temporally and spiritually by my dad's decision to keep that day holy.
My dad has a testimony of truth. He can bear solid witness of his beliefs, and he loves to share what he knows with others. I am grateful for his unwavering testimony of God's love for His children, which made me want that same strength and knowledge in my life. I am so grateful to have believing parents, that guided me on good paths, but also pushed me to find out for myself.
There are so many other little lessons that my Dad has taught me: that a good book is the best escape. The concept of a cost-benefit analysis and how to make a decision. Why ramen noodles are a great late-night snack. That jumping pictures are great memories. The love for Nikon cameras. To keep my standards high. To teach my children with joy. The list goes on, and I'm still learning from his example every day.
Dad, thanks for loving me and teaching me so many things. Thanks for passing on your long legs and big feet to the next generation. Thanks for reading all those papers late at night the day before they're due. Thanks for believing in me and my potential. Thanks for being my friend, and for giving me away to another good man. You a wonderful father and grandfather, and I'm so glad to be your daughter.
Happy Father's Day. I love you.
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