this post is a bit overdue. i was hoping to put it up on october 18th - the birthday of a very special person, but time got away from me and now days turned into weeks later. but late is better than not at all, right?
the above picture is of me and my daddy. i believe it was taken the day they brought me home from the hospital. i have such a special daddy and since i wrote a special blog post for my mom on mother's day, i wanted to share with all of you some about my daddy for his birthday this year.
a list of what i love about my daddy
1. the very first thing has go all the way back to the day i was born. i do not remember this day, but i heard about it many times. the day i was born was the very first time my mama saw my daddy cry. they had been married 7 years before i was born and been friends for a few years before that. imagine that... what a bonding thing for a daughter to her daddy to know that becoming a daddy for the first time opened a part of him up that even the one closest to him hadn't seen before.
2. going back to my birth story again - my daddy sold his car that he really loved to pay for the hospital bill for my birth.
3. my daddy has a super tender heart and cries often now. it seems almost strange to me that my mom had never seen my dad cry until i was born because i grew up with seeing him cry (in a manly sort of way of course). i have always known him to be very tender-hearted.
4. he is smart. i know smarts aren't everything, but i always loved that my daddy was (and is) so smart and feel especially proud when people have told me that i was smart like him.
5. my daddy is funny. he has a super dry sense of humor that sometimes his jokes are so subtle they could easily be missed. i have teased him by giving his jokes an eye rolling at times, but have always thought inside that i wish i had inherited the quick wit (both my siblings seemed have got that trait easily).
6. he has a real relationship with God. you know how you see so many people in the church blown to and fro by the popular trends in chrisitanity? not my daddy. even when it is unpopular, he stands by his convictions and commitment to follow Jesus and trust Him no matter what the cost. he isn't willing to compromise what that walk with the Lord looks like just to fit in - He goes to the Lord and to the Word to find out for himself instead of merely relying on someone else' interpretation of what God is saying. this has given me the courage to know God for myself, even when that looks like an unpopular road.
7. he is faithful. i have seen my dad follow through on his word even when it hurts in so many ways - he would never tell you about these things. (psalm 15:4) faithfulness isn't a common thing these days.
8. he loves my mama. to those readers of mine who are men, i cannot begin to tell you what this does to the heart of a child to see the daddy really love the mama. no, my dad isn't perfect. yes, i have seen my parents fight. but 40 years of marriage to the woman who gave birth to me! seriously amazing. i have seen this amazing example of real love in my parents' relationship and watched my daddy defend and seek to protect my mama (even from our disrespect as children) and then watched him still bring her flowers and her favorite chocolate, write her sweet notes, and actually enjoy spending time with her... i have seen their relationship grow through the harder times and their commitment to loving unselfishly increase. his love towards my mama affects me so greatly.
9. my dad believes in me. from the earliest i could ever remember, he told me i could be whatever i wanted to be - the 1st female president was often his example. through all my passing career ambitions, he always has believed in me - from a medical missionary to the 1st female professional football player, from a supreme court justice to a stage actress. especially as a girl, his first born, he was sure to let me know that gender would never hold me back from God's calling on my life.
10. my dad is a servant. it is the little things that you always notice, right? okay, here is one - my dad would load up the back of his car with cans, bottles, newspapers and other recyclables from a "pollution solution" club my siblings, neighbor kids, and i created as a business. these were all the recyclables from the whole neighborhood... and he never complained about it. another example - he would run to the store to get female sanitary products for the girls in our house if we were out. one time i even called him on the phone in the middle of the night in college to bemoan some female problems i was having and he listened compassionately and like he understood. i didn't think twice about talking to my dad because i knew he actually cared.
11. he has an unwavering trust in God. he has gone through more than his fair share of storms in life and yet he trusts the Lord. it challenges me because i struggle. he has had plenty of opportunities to walk away and be bitter (don't we all?), but i have just watched him lean more into the Lord and really trust Him with his life, his family, his everything. i want to be faithful like that over the long haul.
12. i have watched him respond to mistreatment and misunderstanding with humility. i have watched him keep his mouth shut when i know if it was me i would probably say things i regretted later.
13. he loves sports. i have so many memories attached to his love of sports - from going to the baseball card shops with him and digging through the penny boxes for him to buy 100 cards for me, to playing catch with my softball and glove in our living room, to playing fantasy football and basketball with him and my husbands' family, to him coming to watch my boys' sporting events because he loves them and loves the game... to now watching him bond with my little boys over sports. my two oldest can talk to him about all sorts of stats that i know nothing about. it is really quite fun to watch. one of my earliest memories is laying on my back on the floor next to my dad and him bouncing a racketball against the ceiling as we talked. (i had to be around 2 or 3 at the time?)
14. he is a great person to go to for advice. he actually is both a communications professor and marriage, family and child counselor by profession, and he is a great listener and then really wise as well. i have come with hard questions. he doesn't try to fix problems, but offers wisdom.
15. i have this very distinct memory from right when my husband and i launched out into living on full-time missionary support: my dad walked me out to the car carrying one of my children, like he has done so many times, and handed me a $100 bill. he told me that this was just a seed of the many, many times God was going to provide for us. really, i cannot tell you how many times i have thought back to that moment when everything felt so uncertain and it felt like we were taking a giant leap into the great unknown trying to be obedient to what the Lord had set before us. not only did it show my dad believed we were doing the right thing, but he was prophesying of God's continual provision for us through $100 here and $100 there which i can testify to be true here almost 4 years later.
16. he and my husband get along so well. i think my husband reminds me so much of my daddy and i love that! when we were dating i knew that it was a good sign that he was the one when he had such deep meaningful conversations with my dad.
17. i look like a lot like my daddy. now, everyone has always said that my mouth and chin look just like my dad - but i have never seen that for myself because my entire life he has had a beard and mustache. but, just knowing it to be true, is so fun. our baby pictures look extremely alike.
18. he is an amazing grandpa. among the best, if not the very best. i love to watch him look at his grandkids. he rocks them on his lap and sings them a special song that he made up that he sang to me when i was little. he carries them to the car while they are little, sometimes making many trips since each one wants to be carried. he shares what he loves with them. he thoroughly enjoys being a grandpa and loves my kids so fiercely and each one knows they are loved. they each feel connected to him individually. how do you do that well when you have a dozen grandkids? i don't know, but he does it.
19. i know he loves me. i know it. even when we had tougher times through part of my teen years, i still knew that he loved me no matter what. i know that it doesn't matter what i do or how much i might screw up, he will always love me and never reject me. i know i don't have to pretend around him, but i can really be me - the good and the bad - and i am accepted without conditions.
20. i love to spend time with him one on one. we have had these daddy/daughter dates since i was very little and they are my favorite times.
21. he is so thoughtful. during a stretch of my college years i was very lonely. i lived a 9 hour drive from home and often missed home desperately. other students would drive home for a weekend, and i was stuck on a quiet empty campus missing my family. my dad wrote me letters and sent me cards. many times i would go to the student mailboxes and find an unexpected card from my daddy telling me how much he loved me and believed in me and was praying for me - those cards are still in my drawer right next to my bed.
my sister and i loving on my daddy
this of course is not an all inclusive list, but just some of the many things that stand out to me when i think of my daddy. he is a follower of Jesus, a good teacher, a faithful husband, a self-sacrificing and loving daddy and pa. i celebrate him, even if it is a couple weeks late, and thank the Lord for putting me in my daddy's life.