A Long Overdue Thank You Letter

I bet it’s really annoying getting five random phone calls from me throughout the day. I know as soon as you pick up the phone we will briefly chat and you’ll make sure I’m okay and then get back to work. We think the same way, you know since we are textbook “Type A’s”. I just really enjoy picking your brain about things. When you answer I always tell you I am doing great and that I just had a free moment in between classes but the truth is I really only needed to hear your voice. Your voice has a way of calming me. You always answer the phone genuinely happy to talk to me, even if it is just briefly. I could talk your ear off about things you don’t care about and you still are interested in what I have to say. You always offer me the best advice for any challenge I face. You teach me right from wrong by speaking of your wrong doings so I can learn from you. You’re transparent with me and I think that’s what I respect the most. You may seem stern to others but those close to you know just how big of a heart you have.

Whenever I’d introduce a new boy to you you’d give him a handshake that about broke their knuckles. I’d act like I hated it, but I secretly loved it. You have given me a picture perfect example of how a woman should be treated. The way you interact with me and mom, I refuse to settle for anything less. You’ve showed me the love that every girl deserves from her father. But you never made me feel as if I was loved differently than my brother. You raised us the same way, teaching us the same activities and ideals. I don’t tell you enough how thankful I am to be your daughter, not because I don’t want to but because I can’t. It’s true, I wear my heart on my sleeve and wouldn’t be able to get more than two words out. With that being said, I’m going to share some of my favorite memories with you, some you probably won’t recall. Days that were lazy to you, activities that were casual, and moments that passed so fast meant much more to me than you know.

When I was about five, I have my first memory of catching a fish. At the pond on Buck Mountain, I would stand just close enough to the water so that I could barely have the hook under the surface. I loved being able to see the fish swim around and build up the courage to bite the hook. You would tease me and say I was “fishing the wrong way”, but you let me do it anyways. Every time a brim would bite my hook I was so excited to show you, you acted impressed even though it was nothing compared to the fish you’d just caught…

My very first favorite song was “Burn Rubber On Me” by The Gap Band. You now tease me because I declare every song that comes on my “favorite”. I remember riding in the truck with you and I insisted we’d listen to this song on repeat. This is the day that my love for your goofy 80’s music blossomed. Although I make fun of you for staying loyal to your childhood favorites, I can’t hate too much. I find myself listening to John Mellencamp way too often.

When I was seven years old I rolled my four wheeler, I was terrified and didn’t want to get back on it or even go near it. You made me get back on and you made me ride the rest of the day on every trail, every path, back to the cabin. You made face my fear, you refused to let that fear consume me or build within me. By the end of the day I was comfortable on my four wheeler again, and I was more knowledgeable about how to avoid that situation in the future. I apply what I learned that day to my daily life. I refuse to back down from a challenge or be consumed by the “what if’s”.

When I was twelve and mom got sick for the first time. You showed me what it looked like to be strong, not because that's how you felt inside but because that's what the people around you needed. You showed mom the love and compassion that most women wish they could receive. Thank you for showing me how to put on a brave face. I’ve used this skill it a time or two.

To me it felt as if you woke up one day and just decided to pursue your Pilot’s License. But what I didn’t know was that this had been something you’d wanted to do for quite some time. By doing this you showed me that it is never too late to accomplish anything if you put your mind to it. Life is the longest thing any of us will experience but in the same breathe it is so short. If I chose to take one road I know somewhere along the way I’ll come to a fork and I may be face to face with what could’ve been. Instead of thinking it’s too late or out of reach, I know that’s not the case due to the example you’ve set for me.

One day you brought home a carolina blue 1977 Bronco. I was impressed upon first glance but it wasn’t until I sat shotgun while cruising through the back roads in Mocksville that my love for classic vehicles was born. You have a knack for cars. You have always bought, sold, and restored them for fun. I love being able to see you invision what the final product will be and watch you transform the car before my eyes. The day we dug my Blazer out of that old barn I was on cloud nine. It wasn’t because you’d just bought me what was to be my first vehicle, but because I could have a classic vehicle just like you. You always tell me that the Blazer will hold so much worth, and it’s true. Not because of the value of the truck but because you took the time to build it for me. I will never part ways with that truck.

When I was fifteen and you were taking on the task of teaching me to drive stick you persisted on and pushed me past my frustration (and yours). I must’ve popped that clutch 20 times in the Jefferson Parking lot but by the end of the night we were cruising. You laughed at me every time I stalled out and every time I would grind a gear. Never once did you think I couldn’t get the hang of it. I still chuckle every time someone gets in my car and gives me a puzzled look when they see me driving a six speed. You told me it would happen, and every time it does I think of you.

When my heart broke into pieces for the first time, you were there to pick them up. You didn’t throw out any “I told you so’s” or offer unwanted advice. You knew that all I needed was you beside me. A cookout milkshake snuggled in the couch with you never felt so good. In that moment I found comfort in knowing that as long as I had you, I was going to be just fine.

At the beginning of last summer when I ran into your office to display the speeding ticket I’d just received and stupidly told on myself for almost getting my second one 45 minutes after the first, you told me I had to pay for it myself. I expected nothing less. But I want to thank you for that. Thank you for providing for me but not letting me take advantage of your willingness to do so. You and mom have given me everything I could ever need. Even though it sounds silly I felt accomplished handing you the money to cover my ticket.

Two weekends ago when we took a road trip to Asheville to sell that Ramcharger, I had one of the best days I’d had in awhile. Just the two of us cooped up in that two door truck absolutely jamming to our favorite songs. If Hall and Oates could’ve seen us I truly believe they’d invite us to tour with them. The gas station pizza, $15 worth of candy, and your typical fountain drink. Days like that one are my favorite.

You see it’s never been about the material things you’ve given me. You’ve provided for me 1,000 times over. The thing that I value the most is the time, love, and attention you’ve given me. I can’t remember an event that you missed. Whether it be a practice, game, or field trip. You and mom were the parents that were always there. I’ll be forever grateful for the memories you’ve allowed me to create and hold on to. Though the days continue to trail on just know that I’ll always be your little girl and you’ll always be my favorite man.

With love,