He was the first man to hold you and to love you. He was the man you looked at as your superhero. He is the first man you went to for advice, help or anything else you needed growing up. Your dad.
Now, as I'm older and look back on my life and what I've learned (and definitely what I'm still learning), there are some important things I've learned from my dad.
1. Thank you for the endless advice.
From boys to what kind of prom dress to buy, you were the one I went to. You were sure to always give me an honest opinion, even if it was the last thing I wanted to hear. Thank you for sitting in your office and listening as I would rant about problems before telling me to get off my butt and go do something to fix it. Thank you for advising me on how to handle fights, failures and what step to take when I didn't know what the next moment of my future might hold. Thank you for open ears and open mind for whatever situation I told you about. Thank you for the endless advice, Dad.
2. Thank you for teaching me that is all right to fail.
Failure has never been something I handle well. My anger always seems to get the best of me and positive coping methods for failures are not my strongest suit in life. Still, thank you for teaching me that failure in one thing doesn't mean I failed at everything. Whether it be not getting a leadership position I was pursuing in high school or the simple loss of a soccer game, thank you for not letting that one little setback pull me down. Thank you for teaching me to use failure as a stepping stone and motivation for something greater. Thank you for teaching me that failure is sometimes a simple way to show that direction was not what I was meant to step forward to in life. Thank you for teaching me that it is all right to fail, Dad.
3. Thank you for teaching me how I should be treated by a man.
Growing up, I didn't realize the importance of what you were teaching me about how a man should treat me. Most of the time, I didn't even know that you were setting examples for me. Now, I can see that everything you taught me and respect you have always shown me is what I am supposed to look for in a man. Thank you for always holding the door open for me and making sure that every prom date of mine did the same, (even if I protested against it). Thank you for the words you carefully chose when talking to me, making sure that I knew how respectful a man is supposed to talk to me and I the same to him. Thank you for teaching me to stand up for myself. I thank you most for this, because it taught me to be independent. You taught me to care for myself and make sure that I don't ever need a man in my life, but that it is a choice to be with someone. Thank you so much for teaching me how I should be treated by a man, Dad.
4. Thank you for always being there for me.
My dad was the first person I ran to when I had a problem and didn't know what to do. My dad was the first person I called when a service light comes on in my car or I'm lost with no idea where I'm going. My dad is the first person I call when I accidentally get into a situation or realize I had no idea my bank account was that low when trying to purchase something. When I let my car freeze shut in the winter, you bet it, dad was the first person I called pleading for help. Thank you for always being there for me, Dad.
5. Thank you for being proud of me no matter what.
I wasn't always motivated academically and you never said a word about it. I know that I should have tried harder and done better, but I devoted my time to other hobbies besides school work. Thank you for being proud of me, even when I wasn't anywhere near top of my class. Thank you for not getting upset with all the times I killed the manual car when learning how to drive, but instead being happy when I got all the gears and shifting down even for just a short period of time. Thank you for not getting upset when I closed the door on devoted years of a sport and decided to be done playing. Instead, you told me to do what I needed to, that you would be proud of me no matter what. Thank you for never showing when I let you down, but always pushing me to work harder. Thank you for being proud of me no matter what, Dad.