I’ve always been a Daddy’s girl. If you’ve read my Open Letter To My Mom, you know that I was not the nicest daughter to her in my teenage years. And I regret that. But Daddy….he and I always got along – for the most part.
Since today is Father’s Day, I couldn’t resist doing an open letter to my dad – not just because it’s only fair since I did one for Mom – but because he is, and always will be, the most important man in my life.
So here goes…
I don’t even know where to start with this letter. We’ve always been close and I’m so grateful for the relationship we have. I’m very blessed to have been given two wonderful parents who love their daughters to the moon and back – sacrificing for them, helping them, lifting them up, giving them reality checks, and loving them. You and Mom have been amazing parents and I am thankful for you both every day.
Anyway, I guess I’ll start at the beginning. I was the first kid, so you’d think you would take extra special care of me. Like this picture. It’s so cute!
Instead, I’ve been told that the first kid is the one that you make all the mistakes with. For example: holding me over a bridge that an alligator pond was under so I could see the nice, friendly alligator. And then jumping back quickly when the gator rushed across the pond toward the bridge supporting you and your child. I have to ask, did you try to feed me to an alligator??
Or the story I heard where you tripped while holding me and had to do a fancy roll in order to prevent dropping me or falling on me.
**Disclaimer for the strangers reading this: my dad is fantastic and he would never knowingly put me in harm’s way. I survived all circumstances and was never in any real danger.**
I’m sure having a daughter like me taught you many lessons (I am a handful after all). So, I want to share with you some of the lessons I’ve learned from having you as a father.
See The Good In People
Anytime I get mad or frustrated, you remind me to look at the situation from the other person’s point of view – to see things in their eyes. Sometimes, in the moment, that infuriates me. I just want to be mad! They wronged me and I should do something about it! But then you remind me to take a step back and realize that maybe they hurt me because they had a bad day or had a hard upbringing. You remind me to count my blessings and instead of fussing at people for their errors, to take the time to help them and to learn from it. Or to just take the high road and move on.
Help The Less Fortunate
You’ve always been one to help others. When someone asks what a missionary does – I think of you. Now, you do have a full-time job outside of mission-work, but you do use a lot of your spare time to help others. Take all your mission trips to Honduras, for example. You’ve been the President of the Honduras AGAPE Foundation for years – always helping out when needed – taking extra trips to Quimistan when there aren’t enough chaperones. When you see someone in need, you reach out a hand. I like to think I inherited this quality from you. I loved the mission work we did together as I grew up – whether it be local or abroad. I’ll always remember the two trips I took to Quimistan. The time we spent helping others made me the person I am today.
Always Take Other People Into Consideration
Recently, it’s been brought to my attention that I put other people first – that I always think of the repercussions for others before I put anything into action. I really didn’t think I did anything out of the ordinary, but apparently it’s not as common as I thought. For example: something as simple as parking my car far away from the apartment building when I’m going out of town – because I don’t need close parking when I’m not there so I want a spot to be open if someone needs to park close. I always thought this was human nature – something everyone did. Recently, I’ve found out it’s not. I mean, I always knew people don’t always think of others but I didn’t think my inclination to think of others first was that abnormal. Thank you for teaching me how to do that. Both you and Mom are fantastic at putting others before yourselves – and I’m so grateful that you instilled that unselfishness in me, as well.
Be Responsible But Live Life To The Fullest
You’ve always told me to be financially and morally responsible but to remember to live my life. You tell me to do things that make me happy – to have experiences – so that I can look fondly back on those memories later. I’m the kind of person who finds a goal and will lock myself away, working hard, until I achieve it. You always remind me to work toward my goals but not to miss out on life (and to take lots of pictures along the way). Thank-you for reminding me that I was blessed with a life to live and to not put it to waste.
I could go on and on about lessons you’ve taught me; but I think that’s enough for now. Gotta save some for next year. 😛
Before I finish this letter, I want to thank you for a few things.
Thank-you for letting me chase my dreams while making sure I understand and accept what comes along with them – good and bad. I’ll never forget how you would ask me why I wanted to pursue a career in music every time I came home from college for the first 6 months. I eventually had to tell you to stop because it was driving me crazy; but now I see that you knew how hard that journey would be and wanted to make sure I was up for the challenge. Once I assured you that I was, you supported me every step of the way – never doubting my abilities.
Thank-you for allowing me to take my own journey. Growing up, I was a die-hard Clemson fan. We went to tons of games and I even went to their cheerleader camp and cheered on the field as a kid. I was determined that I was going to go to Clemson, just like my Daddy. And then I found out that Clemson didn’t have as strong of a music program as I wanted and decided to look at other schools. It was a tough time when I decided to follow in Mom’s footsteps and attend The University of South Carolina (the rival school). Then, four years later, I decided to move 17 hours away to Oklahoma City. I know neither of those decisions were easy for you to take in – and I’m sorry if they caused you pain – but I’m grateful for you allowing me to find my own path. Besides, there will always be some orange in my blood – although my outfit choices are garnet and black.
Oh, and thanks for wearing a Carolina Dad hat to my graduation. 😛
Thank-you for supporting me through my experience with HSP-Vasculitis. The support you and the rest of the family has given me has been more helpful than I can describe. I can’t even put into words how having you standing beside me, cheering me on, means to me.
Thank-you for being the quiet in my life. Your calm, quiet nature reminds me to slow down and really see the world. I talk way too much and get overly emotional about, well, everything. You, on the other hand, are cool, calm, and collected. Sometimes (okay, a lot of the time), I wish I was more like you in that sense.
Thank-you for being the most important man in my life – the only one who can call me “Sweetie” – and the one who I know will always be there for me, no matter what.
Happy Father’s Day, Daddy!
I wish I was able to be at the lake with you today. We will celebrate when I’m in town in a few months. I’m counting down the days! I miss you, Mom, and Allie (all of the family, really) every day and can’t wait to see you soon.
Thanks for being the best dad ever!
I love you!