(From Left: Dad making one of his usual goofy poses, Christa, Mom, my brother)
We are once again taking a break in our usual routine to honor someone very special to us . . . our father.
I’m extremely lucky and privileged to have such fond memories of my childhood. I have no one to thank but my parents. Parenting is a difficult and challenging undertaking, of which you are responsible for the sound upbringing and psychological development of your offspring. You are bringing a living being into this world and with that there are so many social responsibilities involved that can leave a heavy weight on your shoulders. Kids are tiny little sponges, soaking up everything, good and bad. I don’t think my dad understands how much of a good influence he has been in the lives of his children.
My sister and I fought relentlessly growing up. Nasty fights that sometimes led to us saying things we didn’t mean. We were kids, we didn’t know any better. But I’ll never forget my dad always quoting the Bible to us, “Never let the sun go down upon your wrath.” He made sure that we understood to go to bed with love and forgiveness in our hearts, rather than hate. And because of him, we always did. He demonstrated a genuine compassion and empathy for others.
The thing that I love most about my dad is the fact that he was not afraid to cry in front of us. He didn’t care about acting manly. He was usually the first to cry during a dramatic scene in a movie. He showed us that a man does not have to be disconnected from his emotions. He taught us to daydream as much as make realistic plans for our future. He supported and encouraged me to pursue all of my aspirations, even when they didn’t turn out the way I wanted.
And there were plenty of times he spoiled us more than he should have. My sister and I begged our parents for a Barbie Doll house, but we couldn’t afford one. He surprised us by building one himself and he even included a spiral staircase. My science fair projects were always a big deal and I’ll never forget all the trouble he went through to build a volcano in which you could see inside, he even made a small air pump that I simply squeezed to make the “lava” erupt. I know, I cheated, but it was always so much fun asking for his help with those sorts of assignments because he took it one step further, he just had to make it special. That’s his thing.
I would like to thank my dad for showing me that a real man doesn’t have to guard his emotions. For all those extra hours spent helping me with school work. For teaching me compassion and understanding. And most importantly, thank you for all of your incredible support during one of the hardest times in my life . . . leaving my abusive boyfriend. You helped rebuild my self-esteem, and you offered financial help until I could afford my own place. I don’t know where I would be today if it weren’t for you.