It is Fathers Day Eve, and I sit here at my trusty computer and set myself to writing all that I wish word could express. I guess we'll see how successfully my heart felt feelings translate onto the page.
Dad, thank you a million times for telling me how beautiful, smart, and talented I was, even from the time I was a tiny person. As your eldest, and a girl, I know a bit how much you must have loved me, worried about me, and desperately wanted the best for me from the the first moment you saw me, even to the present day. I only claim to know this now because my first child is a girl, and she is amazing, beautiful, smart, and talented in ways she is only just discovering. Now at 15 years old, your oldest grandchild seems to only get grander with the passage of time, and my love for her grows to keep pace with her climbing stature (she's gotta be 5'8" by now).
Thank you for all the sacrifices you made for me and my siblings growing up. I knew you worked hard because the navy blue coveralls you changed out of after getting home always had the evidence of hard work written all over them. I knew you worked in a big plant on machines, and it was work that was physically demanding because your face often showed the fatigue of a long day. Not sure at what age I started picking up on all that, but I remember it. I also know it was work you did not like at times, but I also remember when you picked up on the plan flaws that even the engineers had missed, and how proud you felt as you were awarded trips and plaques from the company because of your keen mind, careful attention and hard work. In those times you taught me that every job has the potential to be as satisfying and important as you make it.
Thanks for all the support and encouragement you gave me in school, I'm talking kindergarten through university graduation. Neither you or I will ever really know how much that impacted me for the good. You made me feel strong, and would often convince me I could tackle a challenge that felt too enormous for me, yet you knew was within my ability. Your believing in me made all the difference!
Thanks for giving me up to another man. At the ripe age of 20 and 3/4, I fell in love with a man who was worthy, and everything I wanted and needed in a husband. Dad, I'm now beginning to understand how much it was for you to give me up, let me close the precious childhood chapter of my life and move on into full adulthood. You were amazing! It must have torn you in ways you never expected, but you supported me through my courtship, engagement, wedding, and marriage. You did not burden me with the heartache/joy you were feeling, and because I had an awesome dad who taught me not to sell myself short, but rather helped me to realize my true value, I picked a man equal to you in a husband.
Thanks for all your handyman ways. I have been, and continue to be blessed by them. Thanks for a playhouse that was the most rockin' awesome playhouse ever built (the envy of the neighborhood); conceived in your own imagination and built with your loving and strong hands, to the many countless improvements and additions to my childhood home you were nearly solely responsible for. After leaving you and starting a family of my own, you've never been too far when Sheldon couldn't figure out how to tackle a project, or we simply needed more hands on deck. The home we have now would not have been possible, or as beautiful without your willingness to share your hard-work and experience. I know if I need something, I can always trust my dad to help me. That is a blessing not all girls in this world are given, and I try not to take that for granted.
Dad, thanks for your love. You have shown in and do show it so many ways. You love my mother. Thanks for the kisses I watched you plant on mom in the kitchen; some you knew I saw, and especially for those you didn't know I saw. Those kisses spoke much louder to me than any argument or disagreement you two ever shared. Your love always showed through, and I came to know you could still love someone even though you were having a difference of opinion, or even a full fledged argument. I think that has helped my marriage in ways of which I'm not fully aware.
In conclusion, thanks for all the years you've given me. Thanks for being an imperfect parent while you tried to be the best dad you could be. Thanks for making mistakes, and being a warning voice that has helped me avoid danger. Thanks for all brake replacements, the hugs, the good examples, and even the less than shining ones. Thanks for the tears in your eyes after you had to punish me, showing it hurt you at least as much as it did me. Thanks for the love and home you provided that has made me who I am today. I'm not perfect, but I know I'll always have your unconditional love. Daddy, you'll always be one of the most amazing men in my life. Happy Fathers Day! And thanks for the tears I know will be on your cheeks after reading this. I love you Dad!