Updated: Jun 21, 2020
Happy Father's Day! Although I am not there to celebrate today, know that I have been thinking about you and all the memories we have shared over the years.
One of my earliest memories of us is sitting in the family room, me on your lap, eating molasses cookies. I remember looking up at you, thinking you were the most amazing dad in the whole wide world. Fast forward 23 years, and I still feel the same exact way.
Growing up, you were always a rock for our family. You commuted over an hour and back to work for years in order to give us everything we always wanted. I didn't realize it then, but now I know how much of a sacrifice you were making for us. You still are such a hard worker and I think I get a lot of my work ethic from you. I admire how much you are dedicated to your career and to doing things on your own. You're the only man I know that completely renovates his home on his own! I only hope I'll find someone as hard working and handy as you one day.
When you weren't at work, you were a regular customer at my make-believe diners, you taught me how to mow the lawn, you caught spiders and dangled them in our faces as we screamed (and yes, this still freaks us out). You taught me how to ride a bike and how to fish (although I hated it). You coached us in softball for years with Mom and were always my biggest fan on and off the field. You helped me try to figure out homework questions when they absolutely were not in the textbook. You got me addicted to crosswords, as your dad did you. You taught me how to drive after Mom said I almost backed down a hill. You helped me learn all the rules of football and competed with me every night in Jeopardy. You made me realize how great Simon and Garfunkel are and that 'Cecilia' is one of the catchiest songs out there. When I worked at Struppler's, you would come visit me on your shifts and during a snowstorm, you picked me up during your lunch break to go get my blood drawn. You were always there when I needed you and still are.
For all the times you helped me as a child and teenager, you've helped me even more as an adult. I cannot count the number of times you have moved me from dorm to dorm, apartment to apartment and city to city. I know you hated some of those moves, but you still did it for me. Your hours of lifting boxes and maneuvering your truck into small spaces did not go unnoticed. I'm glad we could share some laughs along the way too.
With moving out, came my own tool box. Because of you, I feel like I can do anything a man can do. I've built dressers, hung shelves, lifted box springs up three flights of stairs, and repaired so much along the way. I can hammer a nail like no other! Even today as I was building a contraption to fish my bookmark out from under the deck, I thought of how proud you'd be at my ingenuity.
You have taught me so much, Dad, and I am so thankful.
You've listened to me and have encouraged me to chase my dreams. You support me in everything that I do and am always there to pick me up when I fall down. Whenever you know I've had a bad day, you send me a text just to say you love me.
You somehow manage to stay sane in a house full of women. I'm sure you have heard conversations that you wish to never hear again, especially with all of us being so open and loud. I'm not sure that others would handle us as calmly as you do, but I'm thankful that Kaleb came along to add some more testosterone to the family.
You are the most kind and selfless man I know. If Mom or us girls were ever in trouble, I know you would take a bullet for us. You are a family man through and through.
Beyond all that, I think the most important thing you have taught me is how a man should treat a woman. You have set such a high standard for men that I find myself critiquing every one I meet based on your example. Does he open the door for me? Does he have a napkin on his lap? Does he thank the people that help him? Does he listen to me and care to hear what I'm saying? Is he brave enough to show his emotions to me? Does he take the time to learn who I am? Does he truly love me?
These are all things that you do. You have impeccable manners, you genuinely care about people and their well-being, you show vulnerability, and you love me and our family so much. I like to think that we have similar personalities and I am glad that I've adopted these traits from you. Capricorns for life!
Although everyone says that I'm your favorite, I think we just have an unspeakable bond that will never be broken. I could go on and on about all of the amazing things you've done for me and will continue to do. I know that Grandpa Kearns is looking down on you and is so proud.
Ultimately, I just want to say thank you, for everything. Words will never express how lucky I am to have you. You are the greatest man, father and grandfather.
You are my hero.