15 June 2016

A Letter to the First Man I Ever Loved

A Letter to the First Man I Ever Loved. #Parenting #FathersDay #Fathers #Letters

Dear Dad,

Sunday is Father’s Day. It’s your day and I’m so happy to have the opportunity to celebrate you. Out of everyone in my life that has given me help, you are the one who always receives the least amount of praise, recognition and credit for the things you do, but to your own admission, you like it this way. You’ve never been one to want or need the spotlight instead, you’ve always shown your unwavering support from the sidelines. Unfortunately for you, you’re front and center today. It’s time that I use my love of writing to pull you directly into the spotlight so that everyone knows how much you mean to me.

It’s often said that the relationship between a father and his daughter is a special bond; that the certain, complicated intricacies of life can only be taught by you. If I close my eyes and really think about our life together, I remember so many things. I remember how you would lay with me at night in bed until I wasn’t scared to face the night alone. I remember every soccer game, pageant and dance recital you selflessly sat through for years, never once complaining even though I know there must have been moments when you wished you were doing something, anything, else. I remember all the practical jokes you liked to play specifically, the year you pretended to drop my brand new stereo box on the ground during my birthday party. We didn’t know you had already removed the stereo from the box and I will never forget the look on mom’s face watching you drop that box as it tumbled over and over and over again on the floor. I remember being seven and working in the yard with you on the weekends. You would mow and together, we would bag all the clippings stopping only to share a cool drink under the shade of the trees in our backyard. I remember how you held onto the back of my bike while I learned to ride it, always giving me encouragement and support to keep trying. Your patience to teach me things extended well into my young adult years when you taught me how to drive a stick shift but it probably took all the patience you had trying to teach me math late night at the dinner table. I would become so frustrated to the point of tears because I just didn’t understand it all and you never once lost your patience or made me feel inferior. How you had the patience of Job in raising three girls is beyond me.

I remember spending my lunch hour in high school at your office. You were in research and development for Hardee’s at the time. Because your job was to experiment with new food ideas, there was always enough food to go around for a hungry high schooler. The running joke was “What teenager in their right mind would turn down free food” but if I’m being honest, it was never about the food. I spent my lunch time with you because I wanted to. In the storm of my teenage years, you were the calm; the one place I could go to for quiet, refuge and peace. I remember how we would sit and talk about anything and everything. I remember being so proud of you and the work you did. When a new product would debut in a Hardee’s restaurant, I would proudly say, “That’s my dad’s work!” and beam with pride. Most importantly, I faintly remember sitting on your lap in a dark office, a judge’s chambers, as you gave me your name. When you met mom, it would have been so easy for you to say, “I’m not interested” when you found out she had me but you didn’t. You took me in, loved me as one of your own and never looked back.

In today’s world, a father who keeps his family safe and who is dependable and trustworthy is hard to come by. We never had a worry where this was concerned. You were always so thoughtful and diligent in taking care of your girls. Without hesitation, you would run out in a downpour to get the car for us and when we were sick, you always made sure we had our favorites on hand to help us feel better. As a working dad, you came home every night and cooked dinner without complaint or hesitation. Now as a working mom myself, I know how tiresome and weary it can all be but you? You always made it look flawless and perfect.

Dad, you were the first man I ever loved. You were the first man to believe in me, the first man to dance with me and the first man to show me unconditional love. Through the years, you’ve held me, comforted me, and been my playmate and my biggest supporter. You’ve given me the freedom to explore life and grow as a person and always left your arms open for me when I messed up or needed to come home. You’ve always been my compass, my Northern Star, my constant.

Today, I may have a family and daughter of my own but you have never left me. My heart is forever shaped by the love you showed me. I know that through any stage of life I encounter, you are there, on the sidelines, cheering me on. I know that in this life, there is no love like your first love and for me, that love is always daddy. 
Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup
Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup

Courtney is a published author, mom, taco enthusiast, and a Star Wars and Tennessee Volunteers fanatic. She's never met a piece of sushi she didn’t like and enjoys an amazing glass of wine and a great cut of meat. You can read more of her wine-induced, sleep-deprived adventures on The Huffington Post and Scary Mommy.

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