I consider myself to be amongst the luckiest of little girls for having grown up with such an amazing Daddy.
My dad has been there for me in every way since the day I was born. When I developed pneumonia as a baby, my dad quit smoking on the spot in order to enhance the safety of my health.
When I was in preschool, my daddy would dress me (in the beautiful clothes that my sweet mother picked out) every day and drive me to school. I still remember those days and the sweet conversations that we held.
In elementary school, my dad would play with me for hours on in. Barbies, babies, school, house, what ever I could think of.
He would make forts in the living room for me on the weekends out of our dining room chairs and some sheets.
On weekends, he would sometimes pull my mattress (this must have been before air mattresses) into the living room and let me lay in there and watch cartoons for as long as my little eyes would let me stay awake. He would stay right in there with me in his big ole recliner.
When I became old enough for sleep overs, he would make me and my friends his "world famous oreo milk shakes". I just had a conversation with an old friend the other day who said she remembered him doing this as well!
Once, for one of my sleep over birthday parties, my sweet daddy went and stood outside a store's doors until the opened to make sure that he could get a copy of the hottest kids movie out for my friends and I to watch at the party!
Every Friday he would bring me home a brown bag full of different candies.
My daddy never missed a single performance or game that I was in.
After he had his first stroke, and was no longer to drive, he one time walked all the way to my school to be there for some small event that I had. I don't even remember what the event was, but I remember him doing that for me. I remember him telling me, "I've never missed anything you've done, why would I start now?"
As I grew into middle school, my dad would watch whatever silly shows I wanted to watch.
He would take me out for pizza and listen to all the things going on in my life that seemed so big to me at the time.
He once taught me to dance. I think it may have been around the time of my first middle school dance. Sadly for me at the the time, my dad's best moves were from the 50's or 60's! I could have swing danced or jived all night though!
He would take me to the mall, when that became my favorite past time, and let me walk around and look in all the stores for as long as I wanted.
Often, if I found something I really wanted, he would buy it for me because I always "forgot my allowance at the house" and he almost never made me pay him back, even though he always told me I was going to have to.
As I became a teenager, he was still there to listen.
Girly drama, teenage drama, boy drama... he would just listen and listen.
He gave me advice too, but just having someone to hear what I was saying meant the most, I think.
The day I got my license, I went to his house, picked him up, and he took me to dinner. I remember when I dropped him off at his house after our dinner, he made me promise to call him the second I got home, even though I lived less that 10 miles away from him.
Sometimes, my dad and I would go get coffee at a local book store and talk and talk for hours.
When I found out that I was pregnant, as a teenager, my dad was there for me every step of the way.
He and my mom were my champions.
The two of them are the reasons that my story has a happy ending.
Once the baby was born, my dad became all the more special to me.
I saw that he loved my son just as much as I did.
He helped teach me to take care of Dylan.
Again, he listened when I needed to vent about any hardships of being new, young mother.
When I got married, he and my mom were my biggest supporters.
No one thought it would last, but the two of them told me that with hard work it could.
Two years later, when Daniel, Dylan, and I moved to Texas, my dad was one of our biggest supporters.
I remember going to eat with him on the Saturday before we were leaving and him telling us how proud he was of us. I remember hard it was to hung him good bye. I'm a big daddy's girl, and it was so hard to imagine not seeing him every couple of weeks.
But just has he had been my entire life, my dad was still there for me when I moved to Dallas.
He bought his plane tickets to see us with in weeks of us moving there.
He was our first guest in our first home.
That visit is such a special time for me. I remember almost every day of it.
We planned to have lots more visits of the kind.
Sadly, Daddy had a stroke pretty shortly after and for various reasons has not been back.
I'm planning for the next visit though, because I'm sure its coming.
After the stroke that took away much of my dad's speech, he is still there for us. When I call each week, he does his best to converse. I'm just glad he still there to do what he has always done best for me, listen.
I still call and tell him all about our lives and what is going on, and he still and comfort and joy to me.
When we are together, there is nothing sweeter than to just be able to hold his hand and just be with him.
He really is one of my favorite people in this whole world.
Sure, there have been rough times in between all of those beautiful times.
But you know what, I don't even remember the details of them.
I only remember details of all the beautiful memories that my daddy made for me.
I remember the love and support that he has always given to me.
Happy Birthday, Daddy.
I hope your day is amazing.
I wish we were there to celebrate it with you!
We can not wait to see you at Christmas.
Thank you for being the best Daddy that a little girl could have ever asked for.
You mean the world to me, and I love you...
"As big as the sky, all the way to china, and back again"