June 5, 2014·

I truly don’t even know where to begin with this post. Today’s post is personal because it’s celebrating one of the most important men in my life. The first man I ever loved.

My daddy!

Today my daddy turns 70 years young. He’s going to be mega-embarrassed that I’m posting this, but I don’t curr. So, really, this post is to my dad…

Dear Daddy,

Even though I’m closer to 30 than 25, I will still call you daddy. Even though you are 70 today, I will still call you daddy. I refuse to believe that one can be “too old” to call their father, “daddy.”

There’s so much I could say, want to say, need to say to you – and the truth is, I should tell you these things more often… but life often gets in the way, and I don’t. And that’s sad.

I have so much to thank you for. SO much.

Thank you for introducing me to the sports teams in the city of Cleveland at such a young age.

I have you to thank for my die-hard fandom of the Browns and Indians… and sometimes I want to NOT thank you for that because of the years of pain and suffering we have felt because of our fandom. But, in the end, being a Browns and Indians fan has given me thicker skin and learned to accept the things I cannot change.

So for that, I thank you.

Thank you for playing games with me when I was a kid. Thank you for playing Pretty, Pretty, Princess with me about 1,000 times. Thank you for playing catch with me. Thank you for teaching me how to play golf. Thank you for always being willing to just… play. 

Thank you for being the goofball that you are. When I look at you and when I see you just being you and interacting with your family (and your crazy sisters), I realize that the apple does not fall far from the tree. There was never a shortage of laughter in our house growing up, and for that, I’m eternally grateful.

I have learned to look at life just a little bit cockeyed because of you. I have learned to not take myself too seriously. I have learned to see the good in everyone… and in large part, that’s because of you.

Thank you for being the best dad my sister and I could have ever asked for. You’ve been there for us when we needed you. You’ve walked us both down the aisle. You got a manicure AND your eyebrows waxed for Bridgid’s wedding… I’m kinda kicking myself now that I realize I didn’t make you do it for mine. Haha! Just kidding.

You love your girls and we love you back.

Thank you for the sacrifices you have made for us. I know that things haven’t always been easy… but I can’t even begin to thank you for all that you have sacrificed for the sake of Bridgid and me.

Thank you for teaching me what a father and a husband should look like. You set crazy high standards for me when it came to whom I was going to marry (and I think I did a pretty good job picking a good one).

The way you loved mom was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It was truly a selfless, unconditional, unrelenting love. It was an example of marriage that I can only pray John and I experience at least HALF of. There aren’t enough thank yous in the world that will ever truly express how much I appreciate that.

wedding pictures by Katelyn James Photography

Thank you for dancing with me. At father / daughter dances, in your truck to Oldies 100, at my wedding, at the Herndon Festival… anytime. Thank you for always being willing to dance.

I know that there were points in my life when I was incredibly selfish, incredibly ornery, incredibly self-involved, incredibly annoying, and very much a pain in the rear – and for that I’m sorry. I know I’m far from perfect, but I’m trying to do a better job to make up for my angsty teenage and young adult years I wasn’t always so pleasant to be around.

Now that I’m a parent, I understand the love that you feel for your daughters. I truly understand what it means to love your baby girls like no other. I know what you feel in your heart for Bridgid. I know what you feel in your heart for me.

Because I feel that in my heart for Lilly.

And when I think back to some of the immature things I did and said in my younger days, I cringe. I realize that I’m probably going to be paid back when Lilly gets older, but I hope that I can maybe, just maybe, tell her some of the mistakes I made and pray she doesn’t make them too. Oh, who am I kidding? Of course she’s going to make them. But that won’t make me love her any less.

And when I think about the fact that nothing Lilly could do could make me love her less, it makes me realize all the more that you don’t love me any less despite my transgressions… or something. If that makes any sense. 

I know I’m terrible at calling when I should (I really stink at talking on the phone… Quite the contrast from when I was 15, huh?), but I promise to do a better job at calling you and checking in more often.

Thank you for being the best Pop Pop for Lilly. I dread the day that she stays with you and you fill her up with chocolate and soda and send her home to me and John… but on the inside, I actually can’t wait for it… because I know that the memories made will far outweigh her bouncing off the walls at home.

Don’t forget, just because you’re turning 70, doesn’t mean you have to act 70.

As you always said… “Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.” I hope you stay true to that mantra for the next 30+ years.

Because yes, I believe you will live past 100. I could see you pulling a Moses and living till 120. Or something. 🙂 

I realize at this point that this is getting rambly and lengthy. What else would you expect?

I just want you to know that I love you, daddy. Thank you for everything.

Happy Birthday!