My Dad had a birthday on Sunday. I won’t say how old he turned, because I’m nice like that. But I will say that he’s getting ready to retire in a few months, because I’m only kind of nice.
I don’t really talk a whole lot about my parents on this blog, but today I decided to write something for my Dad in honor of his birthday, so here goes.
You are the first man I ever loved. You are the first man I ever kissed. You are the first man that held my hand. You took me out on my first date. You are the first man who ever told me he loved me.
I have so many memories of the time we’ve spent together. You have always been a present father, and for that I am incredibly grateful. I remember you teaching me how to ride a bike. I remember building forts with you and Stephen in the back yard. I remember you letting us help you plant your garden in the backyard, and letting us hand you tools while you were building that add-on to the shed out back. I remember you lying down with me at night until I fell asleep. I would ask you so many profound questions like, “how do airplanes stay in the air” and “how do boats float on the water” and you always had the smartest answers. I thought that you were a genius, and now that I’m in my twenties, I know you are.
You have been such a great father to me. You reminded me all the time that I was your princess, that I was beautiful, and that I was treasured by God. One of my favorite memories is you explaining to me what it meant to be a Christian when I was five years old. You held out your hand and said that when I accept Jesus into my heart, it’s like God puts me in His hand and shuts it tight, and no one can ever take me away from Him. You closed your hand into a tight fist and told me to try to open it again. You always had a knack for explaining complicated things in a way that I could understand. I gave my heart to Jesus that night, and I remember the joy on your face after you led me in that prayer.
You always checked my closet when I was scared of monsters. You comforted me during all of the bad thunderstorms and assured me that just because there was a dark cloud, it did NOT mean that I was about to get killed by a tornado.
As I grew, you helped me with homework. You helped me work through problems with classmates at school. You gave me so much advice on how to be a productive student and how to study. When I got into middle school, you helped me train for the cross-country team. Eventually, you wound up being a volunteer coach. Out of all of the cross-country and track meets from sixth through twelfth grade, I’m pretty sure you only missed one. And that was only because you were in the hospital. Very few people in America today can say that they have a father so dedicated to their success, and I am blessed to be one of those people.
I remember begging you to buy me a car on my sixteenth birthday. I really thought you were joking when you continued to tell me "no", but now I'm so glad you did. You helped me buy my first car right before my eighteenth birthday, and it taught me so much about being responsible for your things, being responsible with your money, and what it felt like to have a true commitment.
You walked me down the aisle on my wedding day. I remember asking you if you would cry, and you said “yes, because I’m getting older and I’m more emotional than when I was younger.” And sure enough, I saw your eyes get pretty misty when I came out of the back room and grabbed tightly onto your arm. Which then made my eyes get misty, because I remembered you telling me several years ago just how important walking all of your daughters down the aisle on their wedding day was for you.
You danced with me in my room when I was a little girl. You would spin me around and watch me twirl like a ballerina in my princess dresses. And then you danced with me on my wedding day.
You have given me advice on my work issues. You have taught me how to be a good wife and a good Christian woman. You have shown me what it means to be a hard worker, to be loyal to the people around you. You retired from the Army and have served this great country of ours well.
You have come to my rescue late at night when Roman was at work and I thought someone was in my house. You also came to my rescue that terrible day when the roaches swarmed in my kitchen and I cut my hand open trying to get away. You have helped us move (twice), paid for meals and groceries, helped us out when we needed the money, and have done so many other things to make sure that Roman and I start off on the right foot. Oh yea, and you and mom still buy me milk. (I promise, one day I’ll start buying it myself!)
Dad, I love you so much. I love the man that you are, as a husband, a father, a Christian, a friend, and a worker. You are a rare breed….a man that places God before everything else. A man that loves his wife more than anyone else. A man that has always worked hard to provide for and support his family.
As we get ready to celebrate your birthday as one big family this weekend, I hope you know how much you are loved. I hope you know that you mean so much more to me than just a birthday cake and a present and a card. You are my Daddy, and you are my hero.
Happy Birthday, Dad. I love you!!!!!
"He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge." ~Proverbs 14:26