“Anyone can be a father… but it takes someone special to be a Dad.” This is something my Dad used to tell me all the time. When I was 6 years old, I met my Dad. He wasn’t my Dad at the time, he was a parent volunteer at my elementary school. He was the parent volunteer that everyone adored. He was tall, goofy, got along with other parents and had a somewhat screwed up sense of humor that would mess with all of our young minds. As much as I had thought he was weird, he still seemed like a good person.
When I was 8 years old and in the third grade, I can recall my mom volunteering a lot more in my school. I loved when my mom would volunteer for my field trips and holiday parties. She loved it too. She loved spending time with me, but also had her eye on the man who would one day become my dad.
One afternoon in the car, I remember my mom asking me if it would be okay if we asked Jeff (the goofy parent volunteer) and his son to walk the holiday Christmas lights downtown. I thought that would be a lot of fun and she said she would do it and say it was my idea. I guess she thought Jeff would be more inclined to say yes… because let’s face it, I was an adorable 8 year old.
Fast forward to when I was 11 years old, in the 6th grade and homeschooled. It was a freezing Ground Hogs day, as my parents got married at the court house. It was the very first wedding I was ever in, as well as the coldest. The way I tell this story is slightly different than the way my dad does. He likes to say him and Mom met in the first grade, started dating in the third grade and got married in the sixth grade. Really, it was us kids who were in grade school, not our parents… but hey, he can tell the story the way he wants to.
From that moment on, my mom, my stepdad and my stepbrother all had the same last name. I was the only one with a different name. I felt very left out. My parents knew how I felt. My mom knew for years that I prayed and wished for a Daddy, and on May 5th 2008 my wish came true. My Daddy adopted me. It was legal. It was official. Blood didn’t matter. I was his daughter and we were family.
My Dad is one of kind. I don’t really know how else to put it. He’s funny… or at least tries to be funny. He’s witty and quick on his feet when it comes to puns, inside jokes and bathroom humor. He’s got a little red neck/country boy in him that likes to show from time to time. He enjoys listening to old country music, watching the Blue Collar comedy tour and Nascar as well as gaining wisdom from those older than him.
He’s hard working… so hard working and doesn’t want to stop working. He works on lawn mowers, collects fire wood, cleans the gutters and gives an oil change to my car all in one day! That’s just how he is and how he was raised. It’s in his genes. He enjoys helping others and providing for his family.
He’s proud. I believe this sense of pride has been passed down to him. My dad is so proud of me. So much so, that I don’t think I deserve it half the time. He’s also proud of his family. He loves my mom dearly, as well as other close friends that we call family. He’s also proud of those who have fought for the freedom of our country.
My Dad and my Grandpa have put on flag retirements for the local community for 20+. years. For those of you who don’t know, a flag retirement ceremony is a ceremony where American flags are burned and disposed of with honor. This is done with honor by playing patriotic music, reading patriotic poems and stories and even thanking the veterans who attend the ceremony.
My Dad has been flying solo during the flag retirements for about the last three years since my Grandpa got sick and passed away in 2017. My Mom, Grandma, brother and I all help him when we can. During each flag retirement, my dad is so incredibly proud and thankful for those who have not only served our country, but also attend these ceremonies in order to honor our veterans.
My Dad is a true patriot. No he didn’t serve in the military, and no he’s not a politician, or some sort of other government worker. He’s my Dad. He’s a retired firefighter who has dedicated his life to helping others, serving his community, being a good husband and being an amazing Dad. So, Dad if you’re reading this, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for your service. You make me proud. ❤️