Well, I guess I’m going to be emailing this to you because you don’t have a Facebook or a Twitter or anything. That’s okay. I suspect you’d either neglect it entirely or get too caught up in it, and you don’t want to do either. I’ve stopped caring about that.
If there’s one thing I can say, it’s that you’ve taught me to pick my battles. I can say I’m your daughter through and through on that one. I sometimes pick unwise ones, just like you.
Yesterday, we celebrated me. Today, I’m celebrating you.
I remember rough-housing on that God-awful swamp-green living room carpet we used to have. I also remember watching you light a fire, and working with power tools… all those crazy things that I always wanted to help with because they looked like a lot of fun. In retrospect, I can see how hard it was. I mean, you practically renovated the entire house, and more or less single-handedly.
But you know what my fondest memories still are? Take a guess…
If you said “Nights spent reading Dr. Seuss”, you’re right. You were the one who taught me how to read expressively, to bring a story to life just using my voice. I mean, you did your own sound effects! Who does that?! Not many people, I can tell you! Sure, my reading mannerisms have gotten me strange looks more than once, but what’s life without being a little (or a lot) strange every now and then?
On that note, you taught me to be proud of who I am, strangeness and all. You were the one who told me not to take any guff from bullies, even if it meant taking it to blows and getting myself in trouble. Thankfully, it never came to that, but it did give me the confidence to do what needs to be done.
You were always telling me I’d go far—farther than a lot of people seemed to think I would. Farther than I thought I’d go, at least. Not that I thought I would drop out of college or anything if I thought it was too hard, but that, compared to a lot of people, I’d be just okay. It’s something I still struggle with, being surrounded by some pretty brilliant people, but you’ve told me over and over that my tenacity is just as valuable as anyone else’s natural talent, and I’m just now coming to realize that there’s a lot of truth to that.
We’ve walked a long road together, you and I, and we have butted heads over a lot of it. But we’ve also had our fun, our laughs, and our tears, and it’s nothing like how I feel a lot of my friends’ relationships with their parents are. (Maybe I’m wrong. I don’t know.) And still, at this crossroads, I know you’re walking with me, telling me to go for it and never back down. And also have small snacks at regular intervals so that the world doesn’t end when I get hungry.
From the big things to the little things and a lot of in-between things, you’ve been there. And I’d be lying if I said I thought this is the end of that. Thanks, Dad, now and always.