Father’s Day is not right around the corner. I’m not jockeying for an expensive present. In fact, I was just looking at a picture of Mom when she was young–she was a total Betty. You outkicked your coverage there.
I’m mostly writing to tell you that even though I’m not living under your roof, your influence on me has been the best. I wanted to toss you a quick thank you for all of the things I could have only learned from you. There are plenty of heart-wrenching letters from fathers to their little girls gracing the Internet right now, but the appreciation and love from daughters is definitely mutual.
There are some things, Daddy dearest, that I blame you for. My competitive streak, my complete disregard for rules, and my sarcastic sass all come directly from your side of the family. There are also some things that I can’t thank you for enough.
Thank you for teaching me that sometimes, there are more important things than just things. By NOT letting me have everything I wanted, you taught me to work hard and to really appreciate what I have.
By teaching me to drive on a back road, you taught me patience.
By letting me fail, you taught me how to pick myself back up. Thanks, Daddy, for helping me stand on my own. (Even though I hope I never have to.)
Thanks for teaching me how to take care of myself, sans male presence. I’m sure you wouldn’t have guessed that I’d struggle catching a dude to take care of me, but I’m doing okay without one. I know how to change a tire, my car’s oil, and a light bulb. I don’t cry when I see a spider, and I am confident in my lawn mowing skills. I complained while you taught me all of those things, but now I think of you and smile when I do them on my own.
Thank you for not letting me wear makeup too young. I learned that what’s inside is more important. This was probably for the best, because once I started wearing makeup, I realized I was terrible at the smoky eye.
Thank you for teaching me that husbands can and should pitch in on housework. You taught me to look for a partner who is my equal.
By teaching me how to dance, you taught me that sometimes old-fashioned is better. You also taught me how incredibly white I really am (thanks, Mom). I promise at my wedding we’ll stick to something simple.
In the department of men, thank you for teaching me (from a man’s point of view) what it means to be a lady of class. I watched you love and respect Mom, which was a lesson all on its own. By teaching me how a gentleman should act, I learned what to expect and demand from my own future husband. I hope I’m lucky enough to find someone who treats me the way you treat her, even when she’s had too many margaritas.
Thank you for forcing me to do my homework. It taught me the importance of an education. Thank you for letting me be silly and teaching me that laughing is part of learning, too.
Thank you for turning on the news and teaching me that the world isn’t full of princess, castles, and rainbows. Thank you for turning OFF the news, to protect me from the world.
Thank you for teaching me that there are cool, funny, respectable gentleman out in the world. And thank you for teaching me that saying “That’s what she said” is definitely not acceptable in church.
Above everything, thank you for just being my dad. Thank you for being my first love–even though I was devastated to find out that you were, in fact, married to Mom, and I couldn’t compete with that–my first hero, and my first and biggest fan. Even though I don’t live with you anymore, I can’t thank you enough for teaching me things that only a daddy could.
Thank you won’t ever be enough.
Your Little Girl