31 years ago I remember mom cooking in the kitchen as I waited in my “wonder woman” (I think I had just thrown together something I thought was superhero-ish) costume for you to come home. I remember you walking up the stairs into our house and being so excited that dad was home.
Two years later that hadn’t changed one bit; we had moved to Colorado and I was so excited those spring and summer night when you came home from work. I felt like we played baseball in the backyard for hours. I so enjoyed that time together.
12 years later, and you coached my softball team. I remember at the time wondering what I did wrong that you were so hard on me. It took me a couple of years to figure out that to be fair to everyone – you were a bit harder on your own daughters. Those seasons were so much fun. I learned to play every position. Again, when I wondered why I couldn’t be a second baseman all the time or third base – just have a distinct position like the other girls. I remember you telling me how much more valuable I would be if I knew all the positions. Even though I wasn’t the strongest player; you taught me very early on if you play all the positions you are much more valuable – you can be anywhere, do anything and see the whole picture of the game a lot more clearly. That translates to life so beautifully – I really appreciate that gift.
Being tough was also something you taught me. One of my favorite stories is when I was playing catcher and the girl coming home from 3rd took me out. I tagged her out, but she still sent me rolling into the backstop. We had other runners on base and you were yelling at me to “get up!” The women sitting in the first row said – “Oh my, he wouldn’t talk to his own daughter like that.” After the play ended I turned to the women in the stands and said, “I am his daughter. ” The shock on their face was priceless. To this day no matter how hard I get knocked down I know you are there to make sure I get back up because the play isn’t over yet. Thanks, dad.
Last, but not least, words cannot express how grateful and blessed I feel to have you as my dad. For 22 years you took care of me, put me through school, fed me, gave me room and board and loved me no matter what. Even after I moved out, much to your dismay, you never stopped taking care of me. You are always there for me, but not just me – my entire family. You are such a wonderful papa to your grandkids. They adore you and look forward to the time you spend together. You give so much of yourself without ever expecting anything in return. You work so hard for all the members on your team, and you are just such a wonderful man. I am honored to be your daughter.
Thank you for everything you are and all that you do.