"Any man can be a father. It takes someone special to be a dad."
To my Daddy
Growing up I was always a daddy's girl. When I was little we bonded over coloring books, wrestling matches on the living room floor, sports of all kinds, and conversations about stuffed animals. I wanted to be just like you. I was so lucky to have you to look up to. You taught me how to throw a football and gave me the confidence to go after my dreams. You were my world.
As I got older our bond changed. I was too big to wrestle and too "cool" for stuffed animals. I feel that this is the unfortunate stage where a lot of dad's lose their little girls but thankfully, I wasn't ready to stop being your little girl just yet. Our bond switched to late night movies, baseball games, school work, and conversations about boys.
You were always so adamant that I get the most out of my education and because of that I made sure to graduate college on time, even in your absence. You told me that I deserved to be treated like a princess and should accept nothing less. You showed me the lengths that love can take you and taught me how to love unconditionally. You never pushed me to do anything, only encouraged me, and because of that I pushed myself. All my life I always knew that no matter what you were on my side.
I knew that you would like the hubs, you had so much in common and he treats me so well that I was positive you would be able to see in him what I did. And of course you did. It didn't take long for signs to begin to show. You actually referred to him by name instead of "that guy" (as you called every guy in my life, both friends and past boyfriends). It means so much to me that you were able to give him your blessing to ask me to marry him. I only wish you would have been there to walk me down the aisle on our wedding day.
Losing you has changed me and shaped me but not nearly as much as having you in my life did.
To my Dad-in-law
I can still remember, almost word for word, the speech you gave at our rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding. Your words were so kind and sincere, they showed me once again how lucky I am to be a part of this family. You have set such an amazing example as not only a father but also as a man and a husband. Because of you, my husband is such a gentleman.
Every time we visit you, a new surprise awaits. Whether it's candle making on Christmas day, a trip to the antique store, or visiting historical sites, it's always something new for me. Not to mention, you make the most amazing omelets :) Thank you for just being you and for accepting me into your family.
To my Pappaw
Not everyone can say their grandpa has a ponytail and rides motorcycles. You have somehow managed to be both wise and wild at the same time and I cannot imagine a grandpa any other way. I loved hanging out at your laundry mat all day as a kid. The endless amounts of quarters for arcade games and computer coloring programs were like a dream come true. You were always so cool. And now, seeing the way you have been there for all of us after my dad died, has shown me a different side of you. Your weekly visits brighten my moms day and your attendance at my brothers baseball games put such a big smile on his face. I don't know where we would all be without you. Your jokes always make me giggle and you always have the most interesting things to talk about. Your influence in mine and my brothers lives has been incredible. Thank you for always being there.
Please, go give your dad a hug. Today and every day, tell him how much you love him. You never know when will be the last time you will be able to say it, so say it often. Cherish every single moment.