Having you as a father has made me into the woman I am today, and I hope that it is someone you are proud of. You never had to sit me down at the dinner table and give me long talks about how life works in order to influence me. Even from my earliest memories you have lead through example and as a parent I think that is one of the greatest things you can do. Words will never be enough to show my true appreciation for all that you are.
You proved to me that the love of a family is one that will never dilute, even if it’s something that was lacking in your life while you were growing up. From the family camping trips to the memories of you blaring Ice Ice Baby on the boat, you have always helped us come together as one. A family is a support system and something that I shall never turn my back on.
You taught me what it means to be truly selfless. My entire life I have watched you work your ass off to provide for us as a family, even if it meant giving up things that were important to you. I’ve watched you hand cash to the homeless. I’ve watched you pay for a women’s gifts so that her children had something to open up on Christmas morning. And I know for a fact you bid way higher than you should have on autographed sports photos simply because you knew the money was going to a good cause. I’ve watched you put the biggest smiles on people’s faces for years and honestly there’s nothing more humbling to witness. You never fail to give more and more of yourself to those around you and that speaks volumes.
You’ve taught me that the best way to bare through life is with a sense of humor. I don’t think your sarcasm is something I’ll ever grow tired of and I know many others would say the same. When life gets tough having a strong wit is important.
You taught me that it is okay to be stubborn. Being stubborn is actually a good thing. It means I know what I want. I know what I stand for and refuse to alter who I am just to conform to what or whom others want me to be. Thanks to you, I know it’s okay to say “f*** off” when it needs to be said. I know the importance of sticking up for myself, to not let people walk all over me. I’ve learned from you that you can be strong willed and still have a huge heart. Be kind enough to give someone the shirt directly off your back, but do not give a piece of yourself to that they do not deserve.
You taught me that life isn’t so much about what you have, but more importantly how you’ve earned it. No, you don’t have a brand new car in the driveway or a vacation home in Florida, but that doesn’t matter. Success is not a place, but a journey and the relationships, memories, and knowledge you gain through that journey holds more value than anything else. You’ve fought for all that you have earned. For years I have watched the way you have handled your business with an immense amount of integrity and because of this you’ve been able to keep a roof over my head, food on my plate, and are now helping me get a college education. You created your own path to achieve all that you could no matter what odds were against you and that’s something to be proud of.
Thank you for all that you’ve taught me, but most importantly thank you for being you.