Yesterday I wrote out the seeds my dad has planted in my life, recorded it in a video, and sent it to him as my far away Happy Father’s Day gift. Love you Daddy!
Daddy, you are a man of very loving words and little expectation. I know you don’t expect much on holidays but I have never wanted to take that as an out for gift giving because you are so worthy of being showered with love. You are also a man who places clear value of presence and loving words over any physical gift, however expensive. So, on this Father’s Day I decided to give you the closest thing to presence I could think of being I cannot be there and a whole slew of loving words, yet none of this will ever compare to the 23 years of both of these you’ve given me. Words can only go so far because I know that every time I get to talk about you I have so many good ones to share so I hope that my words now, most of which I blurt out whenever anyone will hear, reveal to you just how ridiculously fantastic I think you are. And as a wonderer of God’s creation I want to share with you all the seeds you’ve sown in me as my daddy.
“I’m sorry.” If you weren’t quick to apologize for your part in any of our arguments you were adamant about doing so when we both had time to cool down. You showed me that the quickest fire tamer is those two simple words. It is hard to maintain anger after a heartfelt apology escapes the lips of your current assailant. So you not only showed me how to say I’m sorry but you gave that gift to me in our arguments and taught me to graciously accept an apology and to be quicker to admit where I was also wrong.
Patience and steadfastness. These two go together with you because there is a steadfastness about your patience. There has always been something about you that is like a Jesus’ fisherman’s boat facing the storms with undying certainty of safe passage. I strive for that certainty as I walk through life. And even though you are somewhat of a speed demon on the roadways at times that is not actually a hint of impatience. You are patient in all times of waiting and have a contentedness about you that I hope to see grow in my life. You truly emit a spirit of joy wherever you are, in whatever you are doing.
Gentleness. I frequently found amusement in my friends when they came over because of the freakish look of fear that flickered in their eyes when they first saw you, especially with the boys. You have this sort of intimidation about you that I only understood when I erred on the wrong side of the fence and made you unhappy. But with my friends I always laughed at them because I knew that you were simply gooey and cuddly on the inside. I can remember watching you help me nurse various wild animals back to health. I remember the way you reach out to small children and handle them with such care. I remember the way you patiently encourage my skittish dog to come near you for some loving. I remember the way you would gather me up in your arms when I cried. I remember how the words that most frequented your mouth were uplifting and most loving.
Love-giving words, nurturing, and affection. Daddy, you are never short on words of affection for those you love. You are especially intentional about frequently using the words “I love you.” Whenever I get the chance to talk about you I talk about how I somehow never even needed to hear those words because I never doubted that you have loved me wholeheartedly every second of my life.
Time and presence. You have shown me that the two most valuable gifts are time and presence. You showed me this by showing up at all of my games and extracurricular activities and not just putting in a few minutes of face time but arriving early and staying late and shouting words of encouragement from the sidelines the whole time. Actually, yours was the only voice I heard as it boomed surely cutting through any other noisy barriers. I remember one time when I forgot to tell you about a choir concert until an hour or two before it started. You and mom both simply said “we will be there.” I was adamant about it not being important and not to worry if you couldn’t make it since I spaced out telling you earlier but when I saw you smiling proudly in the crowd I remember feeling so warmed to the core and proud to be your daughter. I also remember the times we would go nightcrawler hunting, puddle jumping in the rain, fishing, or camping in the boundary waters. You were always looking for the next opportunity to hang out with me in the ways I loved and I love all those unique memories we got to share because of it.
Work hard, and, more importantly, play hard. You are one of the most devoted workers I know. I honestly despised the times I was recruited to help with various yard chores but I think a little bit of that is good for every kid. But you worked to keep a good, safe house and to provide for our family and you always did so with such joy. I’ve always loved that you find joy in everything you do so even working becomes playing for you it seems like. That being said though, you are the best example of being a child at heart because you truly live for the times you can do the next fun thing with your family whether it be tubing, iceskating, a trip to the cabin, building a fire for all of us to sit around, playing Star Fox on the Nintendo 64, or playing a rousing game of Uno. I could always tell the favorite part of your day was coming home to the family you clearly cherished.
All consuming joy. I think my favorite attribute of you is your ear to ear smile that frequently accompanies your booming laugh. I love being a part of your laughter. There is something so contagious about the joy you carry with you, especially with one look at your sparkling eyes.
Emanating Jesus. I remember the time you told me the story about a little girl who looked into your eyes and saw Jesus. I whole-heartedly hope that I may have an experience like that some day and hope that if I get nothing else right, that I do this. You are such a great example of a devoted disciple.
Commitment. This is also one of the seeds that stands out to me. You taught me how to commit my all to things. I remember a few times I asked if I could quit a sport or some other activity. Each of these times I actually new full well that you would advise me to stay with it through the season and was actually most interested in the reminder of why I should. You always had a way of graciously telling me to stick with the commitments I made. My marriage is very grateful, this girl will never be giving up on her vow. I also love the way you are committed to attending church. Even if the rest of us are too lazy to go you are inspiring in your devotion to make it every week.
Financial responsibility. I remember when I was a kid at the store asking for some toy. I was always going to pay with my allowance but I felt compelled to ask you any way. I suppose even at a young age I knew my best decisions would be made if I sought your wisdom first. Anyway, I would ask and all you would ever say is “Kaia, do you need that?” That simple question was enough to usually have me put back the latest piece of plastic entertainment and if it wasn’t then we would know I really thought there was a good purpose for having it. To this day, I think that question every time I’m about to buy anything.
Painful honesty. Every time you find a cashier over paid you you are sure to return any extra. Whenever you can you will place lost objects back in the hands of its owner. And I don’t think you have ever lied to me. Even when I asked you about the birds and the bees at age five you were prepared to honestly reveal the workings to me. I remember only a sentence or two got out before I stopped you from telling me more.
Boy scout preparedness. You are known for having anything and everything you could possibly need or want on hand at all times. In your man purse you carry things like fingernail clippers, army knife, gum, and Advil, just to name a few. I took this legacy on at an early age, especially on road trips. I would bring any and every toy or mode of entertainment I thought I might need on the journey. Now, later in life, I’ve toned down what I take on trips and ask myself “Kaia, do you really need that?” in conjunction with my need for a sense of preparedness just to tone down on the baggage. In business, this lesson you departed on me is a major reason I have been so successful and seen as professional right out of college.
And finally, the art of list making. May it be a gift or a curse but I have lists all over. I love knowing that I will always have a comrade in you here because you were the one that showed me what a valuable way this was for me to effectively use my time and remember to do important things.
Dad, I love you like crazy and am so proud to have you as a dad. You have taught me so much and made me feel truly loved and cherished. You taught me to never be afraid to show my love for Christ, to be the unique nutty child I am, and to never hold back when it comes to loving others.