My parents were pretty young when I was born - my dad had just turned twenty. He was a new soldier with a new wife and baby to support. He could've easily turned into a "deadbeat dad" like many of my friends fathers. It would've been easy to be overwhelmed - and now that I have kids of my own, I'm sure sometimes he was - and given up trying. But here's what I remember about my dad from when I was little.
My daddy (and I do still call him Daddy, at least 90% of the time) was a hero - a soldier. He was big and strong and able to do anything. He once built a grill in our backyard. I was about 4 or 5 and thought this was an incredible feat of genius:) I was always safe with him. I remember playing "Dukes of Hazard" in his pickup truck. My brother and I would be standing in the seat next to him (this was the late 70's before car seats) and he'd drive slightly off the dirt road and down into the ditch - we'd squeal in terror, but I knew I was safe. He took us into the "woods" and let us try his bow. I couldn't even pull the string back (I know these aren't technical terms), which just reinforced my belief that he must be the strongest man in the world. When we came home after bed time, I would pretend to be asleep and he would carry me to bed. On other nights he would tuck me in and say my prayers with me and we'd talk about my day. When my brother had to have several surgeries I remember how my daddy would hold me up to Shawn's hospital room window so I could sneak him some candy bars. Looking back now I think we probably could've just taken the candy to him, but sneaking was so much fun.
As I got older there was a lot of moving around with the army and I was pretty vocal about not wanting to leave home. I'm sure I hurt his feelings over and over again. But he was always so great. Everytime we moved he'd go ahead to scout out the place. By the time we got there, he'd found us a house and figured out a ton of fun places for us to go and things to do. When we got to Germany he took my brother and me on a nice long walk to the candy store AND ice cream shop. When we got to Hawaii he knew where all the great beaches were and bought us shaved ice (which we'd never heard of).
I can't even imagine all of the sacrifices he made for us or all of the heartbreak we caused him over the years. But I do know that it's becasue of all those sacrifices, because of all the times he went out of his way to be a great dad, that I know how to parent my babies, that I knew what to look for in a daddy for them. And because he was a great dad, I know I can count on him to still be a great dad. He's still there when we need advice or just to run an idea by him. Or when I just need to know someone thinks I'm great:) He's really good on those days! And he's the best Grandaddy ever. My kids and my neices and nephews just can't get enough of him.
So those are some of the things that popped into my head last night while I was thinking about my daddy. I hope he knows how much I love him:)