|Dad walking me down the aisle |
at my wedding in 2010.
(Photo by Tom Roster)
The person that works harder than anyone I've ever met. The man who has always provided for his family above all else. The one who instilled in me a deep sense of right and wrong, the courage to have strong opinions and stand up for what I believe in, and a respect for the power of money that unfortunately didn't quite sink in until after I'd made plenty of mistakes. He taught me the meaning of value—from the value of quality made goods to the value of your word and character.
My folks divorced when I was around ten. For a while after that, Dad's work put him in a neighboring state. He and his wife would often drive a ten hour round trip to pick me up, and a ten hour round trip to bring me back—for a weekend visit. When I got older, they moved near the Rockies and I'd stay with them for a summer here, a semester of school there. The few times I went out at night, Dad would wait up for me until I got home, whether he worked the next day or not. We would grocery shop together, go out to the movie theater as a family, and stay up on New Year's Eve watching VHS tapes and eating shrimp. We had traditions, and rituals. Dad provided me with a sense of security and stability. He probably doesn't know to this day how important and impactful that was on me.
I've learned so much from him. As I grew up, went to college, and stepped out into the "real world," he was always there to listen when I need to talk, and gave sound, realistic, and compassionate advice when I asked for it. He taught me about responsibility, and respect, and doing the very best that you can in this life.
Dad and I don't often agree on politics, religion, or football teams (Go Pack!), but that doesn't really matter. As far as I can tell, parenting isn't about creating a younger version of yourself. It is about raising someone who is independent enough to be themselves. My dad gave me that gift, and I am forever grateful to him for it.
So for my dad, and all dads and dad-like people out there, I want to thank you. Your role in our lives is bigger than you think. Your words affect us more deeply than you know. You make us stronger, better, more confident people, and you make us proud.
Happy Father's Day!