At the age of 6, I stayed home from school with a sore throat. You insisted that I drink chicken broth to feel better…but I poured it down the air conditioner vent. I can’t believe I confessed that to you a few months ago. I thought you’d be furious, but you just grinned and then tried to give me one of your “I’m serious!” looks. It didn’t work though.
When I was seven and needed someone to babysit my cabbage patch dolls, you were always there to help.
When you taught me how to protect myself physically from a man grabbing me from behind, I was truly sorry to have blacked your eye while practicing, but grateful to have the skill. You taught me a lot of things I’ll always be able to use…and a few I may never use again, like how to weld… but I CAN weld J
When I was 14 and put a lit cigarette out on the carpet because I was busted! – I watched as you snickered and turned away. I was glad I could bring humor into your day, even if I was grounded for it.
When I took off walking in a bad neighborhood one day, I was shocked to see you waiting on the side of the road for me. I’ve always wondered just HOW you knew I was going against your will. I’ve always been amazed by your intuition.
When I was threatened by a whole group of girls you made me tell them I’d meet them out front of my house, and when I was afraid because there were nine of them, you told me that I’d fight every last one of them… and then you sat on the porch next to me while we waited for them to get there. You knew they’d never show up, but I didn’t. You were wise, and you knew it would make me feel inferior to have stood up to them.
When at sixteen I sheepishly confessed my pregnancy to you, you patted me on the leg and told me we’d get through it. I hated to disappoint you, but loved to make you a grandfather.
When you gave me away at my wedding, I watched you cry as you walked away, and I felt angry that “giving the bride away” was part of any ceremony. And even angrier to know of all the hard work you’d invested into raising a daughter that you wouldn’t even get reimbursed for – you’d just hand me off to another man. You didn’t have a choice.
When at 20 I nearly lost my life battling heart failure, I remember waking up in my hospital room to you looking at me and brushing my hair with the back of your hand, and I remembered you doing the same for me when I’d be ill growing up…
When Grandpa Bill died, I took great comfort watching you smell the yellow roses while you prayed to God like he was your best friend, asking for peace for our whole family. I think I might have been just a little mad at God for taking Grandpa, but you just had a normal conversation with him, and I was awestruck in that moment by you.
You are the most comfortable, unpredictable, loving, forgiving and strong man I know… I’m thankful each day that God paired us together, and I’m sorry I just couldn’t bring myself to say these things to you today. You are truly unique and absolutely amazing.
Love you daddy,