I remember the first time I realized you were really cool. Not just a “that's my dad, he’s our volleyball coach” cool or “that’s my dad he let us put makeup on him at our princess birthday party” cool. But cool in the sense of “that’s my dad, he wholeheartedly believes in and supports all of my dreams” or “that's my dad, his job is one of the coolest in the world and he has made a difference in hundreds, if not thousands of people’s lives” or “that's my dad, he is the truest servant and he always finds a way to make people feel included and valued.”
I remember being Daddy’s Little Girl, but now I love being my father’s living legacy.
At first glance, we may not be the most similar. I’m the spitting image of my mother, but my father's influence grows deeper. And even though I may interact with the world a little differently than you, I understand it in the same way.
You taught me drive. You taught me to never give up and that anything is possible with the right amount of perseverance and stubborn belief that I can do it. You taught me how to be a passionate Bills fan, but maybe that's redundant after the aforementioned stubborn resilience.
You were the first stand up comic in my life and my first card dealer. You taught me how to laugh and you were also there when I took my first (and last) shot out of a bowling ball. You’ve been there when I cried over things you didn’t understand and you’ve cheered me on in performances you may not have understood.
You taught me how to eat hot wings while making clear that other boys only needed to come into my life when they were absolutely good enough for me and never before. I value and respect myself wholeheartedly, because you first showed me how.
Sometimes dads don’t get enough credit. They’re there to help you with your homework or change your tire when you’re stranded on the side of the road. They’re good to have a beer with and discuss the NFL draft. They help provide for the family and make sure you’re allowed every opportunity in life. And dad, don’t think it’s gone unnoticed how well you’ve done all of these things, and how you continue to go above and beyond.
So thank you for the influence you have had on my life. Thank you for letting me vent to you. Thank you for helping me reach my goals. Thank you for providing, not just material items, but a shoulder to cry on and a plethora of endless support.
There’s a reason they write songs about the quintessential father-daughter relationship. Because it’s a truly special gift. I can’t wait to dance together to one of those songs at my wedding. I can’t wait to skip work and celebrate a Bill’s Super Bowl win one day with you. And I can’t wait for all the other special memories to come in between.
And don’t worry dad, even though it looks like your little girl is all grown up, she still looks up to you as one of her biggest heroes.