One of the best parts about growing up is that you get to know your parents not just as mom and dad, but as individual people who are navigating through life just like you are. While I do my best to express the gratitude I have for my parents on a daily basis, today I want to make my appreciation a little more well known.
Here’s to you, Daddio…
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be like you. You were the coolest guy around; heck, you still are in my eyes. I never once saw you back down from a challenge or, better yet, not humbly admit to a fault of your own.
As I grew older, your patience must have grown with me. I can vividly remember you putting curlers in my hair the night before a cheerleading competition, painting my nails bright pink and putting up with the unbearable sounds of my trumpet. Yikes.
You taught me not to be scared of the outdoors and truly roughing it in the woods. During nights at home, you came to my bedside when I cried over “growing pains” (which clearly didn’t make me grow) and nightmares I always had about witches. You stopped my nosebleeds and took the wood sliver out of my finger while wiping away my tears; you did it all, and I never once felt like my worries were your burden.
My teenage years are really where your grey hair came in. It was at this time that I realized life does indeed come with very real struggles. Divorce, death and despair were familiar roadblocks that we dealt with as a family, but still your faith never wavered. More importantly, your love for me and our friendship only continued to grow.
You taught me how to drive in empty parking lots – I still remember you bringing your own cones and pieces of wood to lay out as obstacles to overcome. You fixed my car in the middle of winter, came to all of my cheerleading competitions, gave me the freedom to make my own mistakes, huffed and puffed your way through a 5K I made you run with me, and ended each day, no matter how difficult, with a hug and an I love you.
Down the road you moved me into my college dorm room. It was the first time any of your kids had moved away, and I think the distance broke my heart more than it did yours. I was scared without you right by my side, but you giving me freedom to test my limits was the best thing I never knew I needed.
You never failed to tell me how proud you were of me when I called with good news, and you also kept me grounded by reminding me not to get a big ego. As you helped me through college, I did my best to make you proud, though I inevitably stumbled a few times along the way.
One of the best moments of my life was when I surprised you by giving the commencement speech at my undergraduate ceremony. I still don’t know how I kept it a secret for as long as I did! But it was the cherry on top, the ultimate way I could show you how much your support really meant to me. The candid of you and I hugging after my ceremony says it all.
After college things again got a little tough, both for me and our family. I struggled through some serious heartbreak and our family endured one curveball after the next, some more permanent than others.
On more than one occasion I called you crying, unsure of what to do or how to feel better. You always had an answer, yet sometimes I didn’t want to hear it because it was easier to wallow in my sorrows. No matter what, though, I took your insights to heart and used them to somehow push through the tough times.
I truly believe you were put on this earth to be my Dad. For little reasons like enjoying black coffee, being a Yankee fan, knowing who Jacques Cousteau and René Descartes are, loving the song Vienna by Billy Joel and sporting boat shoes and a ball cap for my go-to attire on the weekends.
More importantly, for big reasons like treating people with respect, not rushing through life, making a work-life balance a priority, and knowing the true value of family and of the words I love you. It takes someone tough to show their emotion, and I value that about you above all else.
You’re the best guy I’ve ever known, and the most dependable guy I’ll ever have to rely on. Thank you for giving me my wit, sarcasm, sense of humor, appreciation of adventure and family roots that are tough enough to endure any storm.
Happy Father’s Day, Daddio. May you never forget how truly impactful your constant love and support have been on me. I love you more than you’ll ever know.
Xoxo, your self-proclaimed favorite 😉
The older I get
The more I can see
How much he loved my mother and my brother and me
And he did the best that he could
And I only hope when I have my own family
That everyday I see
A little more of my father in me
– Keith Urban