Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Dear Dad

Yesterday was my Dad's birthday! My internet connection was down (thanks, Comcast!), but I wanted to share some reasons I'm so thankful for him...I did it in the form of a letter. I love you, Dad.


Dear Dad,
Thank you for always finding the time to play with my sisters and me when we were little. Thank you for taking me on long bike rides on the back of your bike...and then later telling me that those bike rides were some of your favorite memories.

 Thank you for your love and tenderness after mom died. I remember when you came home and told me she had died, I told you that I wanted to die too, so I could be with her. Thank you for crying with me, and telling me, no, you needed me here with you.
Thank you for taking on the difficult role of mom and dad.
Thank you for fixing our hair each morning before we headed to school and you headed to work. Mom was always so good at fixing our hair, and we always left the house with a bow in our hair. You took on that role, and we still left the house with our hair brushed and a bow placed on top!

Thank you for knowing when to accept defeat. It was school picture day, and you were trying your best to fix my hair. It wasn't as "perfect" as my mom could do it, and I remember throwing a fit. (I'm so sorry.) You drove me to my grandmother's house so she could fix my hair, so it could be how I wanted it for school pictures. Wow...you were patient and forgiving.
Thank you for being sensitive during a hard/awkward time in my life. I remember shortly after mom died, my school sent home a letter that had to be signed by a parent. They would be separating the boys and girls in our class to teach us about the birds and the bees. We had to have that letter signed before we could participate. I intercepted and sent that letter home with a friend so her mom could sign it for me! Thank you for not letting me know that you knew I did that.

Thank you for our Sunday night traditions. Ice cream sundaes and The Wonder Years...a good combo.

Thank you for cooking for us, even after a hard, long day at work. "Rice and Hot Dogs" was your specialty, and we loved it. (It's actually a really good recipe from my grandmother...I'll share it sometime on here!)

Thank you for opening yourself up to love again. I'm so thankful that you met, and later married, Jennie. She has been a wonderful mom to us, and I feel like I've had two moms in this life.

Thank you for always being my number one fan...you never missed a swim meet, basketball game, or track meet.

Thank you for supporting me when I told you I no longer wanted to play basketball. I'm sure that hurt a little.

Thank you for helping me with my math homework. I struggled in math, and I'm sure it was no fun trying to explain it to me...the tutor later on was definitely a good idea for us both! ;)

Thank you for teaching me, through your actions, to treat everyone the same. That is one of the qualities about you I most respect. You are friends with people from all walks of life, and you are kind to everyone.

Thank you for teaching me to stand up for myself. Yes, there is something to be said for turning the other cheek, but many times (especially as girls and women) we need to stand up for ourselves and tell others what we expect and what we want.

Thank you for teaching me the value of hard work. I'll never forget the summer I worked at McAlister's Deli. My friends had a fun night out planned, and I was missing it because I had to work. I was moaning and groaning about the travesty of it all, and you told me, "Lindsey, that's why it's spelled W-O-R-K and not F-U-N." That is still with me today.

Thank you for our annual trips to the beach each summer. That was a tradition I always looked forward to, and some of my best memories remain there.

Thank you for teaching me how to drive. The parking garage of your office building may not have been the best spot, in retrospect, but I finally learned!

Thank you for always waiting up for me. I'll never forget that time I stayed out way too late with some friends. I came home, and there you were in the foyer. You simply said, "Lindsey, we'll talk about this in the morning." We did, and I don't think I ever stayed out that late again!

Thank you for giving me the freedom to be myself and to make my own choices in life (within reason, of course). After I got my belly button pierced one summer (I was 17), instead of telling me to take it out (I could tell you were NOT.A.FAN.) you told me very simply, "It's your belly button."

Thank you for allowing me to make my own choices while also letting me know you were there for me. I knew you were always available to offer wisdom and guidance.

Thank you for always (always!) wanting what was best for me. I started my freshman year of college at Mississippi State (your alma mater), and I know you were proud. We even used to live in Starkville, and you were a big Bulldog fan. I had a hard time there (nothing to do with the school; I just wasn't happy in general), and I told you I wanted to switch to Ole Miss. You didn't bat an eye (OK, maybe a little...) and told me you just wanted me to be happy...

Thank you for always making me feel like I could return home. I moved to New York City after I graduated from Ole Miss. I was there for maybe 3 days (3 long days of panic attack upon panic attack) when I decided I wasn't ready, and I wanted nothing more than to return home and start over...to find something else to do with my life and my English degree. I felt so silly. Who moves to New York and returns home after a few days because they can't handle it? Thank you for telling me it was OK to come home and for helping me find my way...again.

Thank you for not laughing at me when I told you only two years later that I wanted to return to New York. And I did. I was much more confident this time, and I moved up there with a really good summer internship lined up.

Thank you for always teaching me to reach for the stars. Thank you for believing I was capable of anything I put my mind to.

Thank you for enduring not one, but two, stem cell transplants. I am thankful every day for your fight.

Thank you for loving my girls with all your heart and soul. How lucky are they to have you as their Pop?

Thank you, Dad, for being you...and for allowing, and encouraging, me to be me.

You're the best of the best, and I love you.