They say that the first man a girl loves is her father, and this is one of those truisms. I can't remember a time in my life when I didn't love my Daddy with all of me. I thought he was so handsome and strong, so smart and good. He could do no wrong in my childish eyes.
As I became a teenager, my opinion changed a lot. I was the know-it-all, and he was the know-nothing. We never did get the chance to get past that garbage, sadly enough, but I know that we would have, and I try not to feel guilty for those lost teenage years. But even in teen turmoil, he was my much loved and much loving father.
But here are the things that my father gave me:
He gave me his blue eyes. My middle name (which means "light" and light was his lifelong fascination). My strength of character. My sense of humor. My wide butt. My ability to build a family out of cast-offs and strays. My loyalty to those I love. My love of all kinds of music. My book-love. My poetry is straight from him, that renegade poet of Beacon Hill. He gave me my bull detector, my sarcasm, my wonder at the universe. He gave me dreams and he gave me wings. He gave me life. He gave me his love, which I still feel to this day. Everything that I am, he molded and shaped, built the foundation on which I grew to be a woman, and no, I'm not perfect, but I'm satisfied with who I am.
And most importantly, at least in my opinion, he gave me an ideal of what a man should be. And when I finally grew up and pulled my head out of my backside, I found a man very much like him, a good, kind, smart, funny, gentle man who knows what it is to love.
Thank you for this best gift of all, Dad. I'll see you in forty or fifty years.
You would love all of your grandchildren, and oh, how they would love you!