I remember standing in our entranceway in our federalist style house in Virginia Beach. I remember that we were supposed to be doing anything but what it was that we were doing, and I remember loving it. I remember the way that my barefoot feet felt on top of your sneakers and I remember just how far back I had to stand in order to not hurt you as you spun around and around on that wood floor. I remember how great it felt to know how special I was to you. I remember you dancing with me in our entrance way- I remember it because it was there that I learned the truth of your nature.
The truth is, you’re always celebrating your children. You always feel compelled to spin us around and show us off. You respect us more than we respect ourselves, you forgive us before you know what we have done, and you have bigger dreams for us than we can imagine. I know you want a house with a four car garage for us each, but the tiny apartments and trailers we all found at one point or another never made you anything less than proud. You celebrate our small victories and you tactfully fail to remember our times of shortcoming. I’ll never forget that I locked myself out of my apartment and you came and lent me your car because I needed you- but you’ll never forget. I remember all the checks you wrote for me, but you don’t. I remember, though I fail to acknowledge it, just how much you’ve always celebrated me- and the truth is I am lucky that it is in your nature.
In all honesty, you’re absolutely crazy. You’re high mantinenace and unpredictable. You tell way too many stories and you lie too often. Youre too modest and you keep too many secrets. You call your family more than you need to, you give us way more than you have, and you live a top dollar lifestyle on a dime. You make too many excuses for the people you love. You don’t ever protect yourself. You don’t get mad at us often enough. You are too forgiving and generous to a fault. But truth be told, I’d be absolutely proud to take all your bad habits if I meant I’d grow up to be half the person you are.
Truthfully, youre a great role model. Youre an aging man who went back to college, who saved his money for something he loves, and who took in his siblings when they needed him. You’re generous and loving and forgiving. Youre old but you’re vivacious, and optimistic whenever you can be. You love children and animals and you love your kids. You’re a hero and a godsend and I don’t take that for granted. Truthfully, Honestly dad, I still look up to you.
I am an independent adult, but I still look up to you. I am no longer a little blue eyed blonde standing on your sneakers as you spontaneously dance in our entrance way, but I am still your daughter. I still want to grow up to be the woman you’ve always hoped I could be and I want to give you real reasons to be as proud of me as you already are. I want to dance with you at my wedding and spontaneously misbehave when we are both much older and im sneaking you out of your nursing home or letting you drive after they take your license. I want to thank you for celebrating me for no special reason as often as you do. I just want to tell you that I love you, and this is the best way I know how to spontaneously embrace you. This is me, stopping in the entrance way and spinning you around to no music. This is the only way I know how to make you understand how special you are to me. This is my thank you, this is a party for you, this is my father-daughter dance.