There are two things in life that I know for certain:
1.) I drive my dad bat-shit crazy.
2.) He loves me more than I can even comprehend.
It's safe to say that my dad and I are very different. He is as level-headed as I am nonsensical. He likes to have a plan for everything. I tend to fly by the seat of my pants. He is focused and, I am, well......not. Sarcasm is typically lost on that man, whereas, I speak it fluently. As different as we are, he has never once discouraged me from being anything but true to myself. He may not always understand me but I know without a doubt, he ALWAYS supports me.
On my eighth birthday, I had a skating party at the roller rink in Hastings. My mom and I had it all planned out- basically the party of the year. However, the day before, she was invited to one of the big Husker football games of that year, by one of her friends. Not wanting her to miss out on an opportunity to have fun, dad traded in his cowboy boots for roller skates and took a group of unruly eight year olds to my Barbie skate party and insisted that she go to the game. This is one of my first recollections of his selflessness. He sacrificed his sanity to insure that both my mom and I had the best time. Plus, I'm sure he wore the hell out of that Barbie party hat!
When we were kids, he was an over-the-road truck driver and was usually gone 3-4 nights per week. Every night he called to talk to my mom but he would always take a few minutes to talk Ethan and me, too. He would listen to our stories and the happenings in our little lives and made us feel like we were the most important people in the world. I have to add that when Ethan and I were fighting and driving mom nuts, he would tell us that if we didn't straighten our asses up, he would jump through the phone and do it for us. I wasn't a super smart kid, but even I knew that, that was bullshit.... but, hey, it usually got our attention. Even though he was gone a lot he always made sure that he was there for the important stuff. There were few games, programs, or concerts that he missed. He may have had to come in late and stand in the back, but he was always there.
He has always sacrificed so that we had/have everything we need. He is my hero....not because of what he does but because of who he is. He believes in hard work and honesty. He believes in a man's word being their bond and on a handshake being their contract. Qualities that you don't find too often in this day and age. In a world full of uncertainties, he is one of the few constants in my life. I know how lucky I am to have been raised by such great parents but I am doubly lucky because as I have gotten older they have also became my friends.
I watch as his mom battles end-stage dementia and am in awe as I see the same patience and caring that he has always had with his children shines through in an effort to help calm her. I know that every difficult decision he has to make weighs heavy on his heart yet he remains strong; for that is all he knows.
And I know as we come together to celebrate Father's Day, that this too is a day tinged with sadness for him. No parent should ever have to bury a child. Ethan was his best friend and days like this further remind him of his loss. I worry that he has been so busy helping us girls through our grief that he hasn't had an opportunity to fully process his own. Many of the things that he once loved, he no longer does, because those were the things they would do together. Life isn't fair...... I just wish I could shoulder that pain for both of them.........
Happy Father's Day, Dad!
I don't tell you enough how thankful I am for all you do.
Love you the most!