Happy Birthday Dad.
I can’t imagine spending my day a better way honoring the man who helped make me who I am. You came into my life when I needed you most. I was 10 and angry. Angry that my dad wasn’t there. Not because he couldn’t be but because he didn’t want to be there. It didn’t matter that I’d already started shutting people out because you knocked down my barriers. When you moved in you let mom and I throw away all of your terrible tacky ties. You let us show you how a wardrobe overhaul could change how people treated you. Almost overnight you went from mismatched and brilliant to coordinated. Showing you were every bit as put together on the outside as you are on the inside.
When I pushed you away you refused to take no for an answer and never missed an opportunity to tell me how much I meant to you. You showed up for every school and church function. You pushed me to be better, always encouraging me to be everything you knew I could be. You loved me like I was your own and showed me what true fatherly love meant. When I was weak you were strong enough for both of us, when I cried you were there to wipe my tears. In a world constantly telling me I wasn’t enough you promised I was. You were the quiet voice telling me tomorrow was a new day and unforgettably the very loud one waking me up in the morning. I didn’t make it easy for you but you never let that stop you. You loved me even when I didn’t feel worthy of being loved.
You taught me to fight for what I believed in even when it’s easier to concede. You taught me “if you’re not fifteen minutes early, you’re late.” and to always put family first. You taught me that in the face of life’s toughest trials you have to face it head on no matter the cost, you taught me to always do my least liked task first and to always leave my phone number twice when leaving a voicemail. You taught me how to wakeboard and how to get a great deal on a car. You gave me everything I needed to succeed and showed me that living a debt free life is empowering in so many ways and the knowledge that nothing worth doing is ever easy.
You showed my mom what it meant to be fully loved not just for one part of her but for every part most especially her heart. You’ve stood by her side through all of life’s demands. Through the loss of parents and friends, changes of addresses and businesses. Always putting her needs above your own. You’ve showed me how a man of God is called to treat his wife. One day I hope to have what you and mom have, a true partnership. I look up to you more and more each day. You fought for our family and I want you to know that I’ll always be in the front line fighting for you.
On my birthday you told me I changed your life. I guess that’s something we have in common because you’ve changed mine.