June 15, 2008

Daddy's Girl

I was born on September 11, 1980. If I am not mistaken, I believe that I was the first of my siblings that my dad was allowed to be present for in the actual delivery room. (That's hard to believe now!) My parents never knew ahead of time if they would be having a boy or a girl and after having three boys I am sure that they were wondering if they would stay with the blue theme or if some pink would be added. After only a couple hours of labor, I came into the world at 11:22 am... not just a girl, but a daddy's girl.

Since I can remember, I have never known anyone else that knows something about everything and can seemingly make anything out of nothing like my dad can. He did not grow up wealthy but learned to work hard. He served in the Vietnam War and wrote letters back and forth to my mom while he was there. They were married when he returned home and that is where our family began. I can remember my dad being at every single one of my sporting events (most of the time with his big ol' video camera). In high school, I played soccer and our team was not very good at all. When we won our first game ever, he bought the whole team pizza. As a child, I stood next to him on a little chair as he led worship service at church and sang along. When I used to sing solos, he would always go to the church with me the night before so I could practice and get the sound right. When I was 10, I practiced a song called "Daddy's hands" that I sang for him on Sunday morning church on Father's Day to surprise him. I can remember him teaching me to ride a bike. We were in our backyard and I had on my very stylish bright orange sweat pants pulled up to my knees. I started at one point in the yard and started down a very slight slope. As he let go, I was so scared but proud to be doing it on my own, until I managed to find the only mud puddle in our yard. That put an end to my favorite sweats (see, there really are blessings in disguise!). My brother Tommy and I were big into Pee Wee's playhouse when we were little, so of course I thought it was the coolest thing ever that Tommy had a foil ball. One day we decided it would be fun to take this giant foil ball apart and make lots of small foil balls. Tommy drew a picture of a steak and wrote "you're dead meat" on it and hung it on the front door. When my dad came home from work that day, he was greeted my shower of foil balls, and we had so much fun that night running around the house having our foil ball fight! I can remember playing hide and go seek and my dad crawling on his hands and knees saying "Fee Fi Fo Fum, I'm gonna get you by your thumbs!". I can specifically remember being no more than 4 and hiding in a closet with my hands in fists with my thumbs tucked inside so he could not get them! He would give us piggy backs rides and rides on his shoulders, and I would watch our shadows on the ground. When we would catch spiders, he knew what kind they were. When we caught a little snake, he built a house for him out of plexi glass with hinges to open the top and air holes drilled in the sides. I even took that for show and tell when I was in about 1st grade, much to the delight of my teachers I am sure. My dad taught me how to fish, which is still something we love to do together. He built us a tree house in our backyard, fully equipped with electricity so that we could take a little television out and watch movies. He taught us Bible verses and songs. I remember my dad seeing something I had written once and commenting on how nice my handwriting was. Little things like that mean something because I still remember them 20 years later. I had a small Glow worm when I was little that would glow in the dark and would fit on your finger. He would put that Glow worm up by the light every night and when it was ready, he would shut the lights off and make it dance around the room while he sang. We would say prayers together every single night and I still say that my dad prays around the world when he prays. If someone was passing something at the table and said "be careful, it's hot!" my dad could hold onto it when no one else could. I still tease him that he just has "dad hands". He would make me homemade chicken noodle soup for after my chemotherapy trips, and on special family get togethers, he makes my favorite chocolate cake. He has helped with countless (literally countless) projects on our house and cars that I can never ever repay. He works harder and longer hours than anyone else I have ever known, yet never complains. He provided a safe and fun home for me and my brothers and my mom. He and my mom made lasting traditions that are so important today, because I could see Jeff doing the same things with his kids and Tommy with his girls. Seeing my dad with his grandkids reminds me of when I was growing up. He loves his family.

I can count the number of times that I have seen my dad cry on one hand. The most recent was the night that Jeff passed away. I can remember him kneeling at the foot of Jeff's bed and sobbing. I asked God why he would let a father go through so much agony in losing his firstborn. Thinking of that still makes me cry now. What I have gained from that experience is not only knowing how much my dad loves us, but also how much our Father in heaven loves us as His children as well. My dad has been such a great example of that.

My family has been through so much, and I am sure that my dad, as head of the household, shouldered a lot of the burden, wanting to be strong. I never want a day to go by that he and my mom don't know how much they are loved and appreciated. I am who I am today because of who they were and still are.  I think we wait too long before we tell people how much they mean to us, and sometimes we never get the chance to say it. I would like to take today, on Father's Day, to tell my dad how much I appreciate the sacrifices he's made for me, without making them seem like sacrifices. He's always had time for me and has always made me feel loved. I have said before that I like being the only girl and having brothers. Part of that is because I like being the only daddy's girl in my family!

Happy Father's Day to my dad and to all the other dad's out there!


(These are pictures of me and my dad on my wedding day)

Click here to go back to my updates