Dear Dad, Thank You

Dear Dad, Thank You

You made me into the person I am today, and for that I am grateful.
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I truthfully don't know where I would be without you. I know we've had a good relationship my entire life, but in the past few years, it's strengthened.

You're the reason every bad day has a happy ending. You're my favorite person to call when I need it. You're my favorite person to talk to when I need encouragement, whether it be academically or personally.

You're the reason I love sports so much, and when people ask me how I know the things I do, I say it's because of you.

You're the reason I know it's OK to have emotions. When Boompa died, it was the first time I saw you cry all 15 years of my life. It reminded me that even the strongest people struggle sometimes and taught me that it's OK to cry.

You're the reason I believe I can do absolutely anything I set my mind to. When I decided to change my major, you didn't question me or doubt me, you told me you were proud of me.

You're the reason I'm so determined and motivated to get the career I want. You taught me how to learn from my mistakes and focus on what really matters.

You're the reason I have the opportunity to work hard. Without your hard work, continuing into your 60's, I wouldn't be able to attend the school I do. You gave up your dreams so I could chase mine. I'm forever grateful for the time you've spent to make my life easier.

You're the reason I'm so independent. You taught me how to drive in a church parking lot, cook spaghetti, pump gas, and attempted to help me ride a bike even though I was too afraid (I still am).

You're the reason I know how to be a good parent. I still don't know if I want kids yet, but if it does end up happening I know how I'll raise them: just as you raised me.

You're the reason I know what I deserve. After my last breakup, you were on my side and provided the support and encouragement I needed. I will never let a man treat me with less respect than you have for me. If they don't make me feel as secure as you do, it's time to move on.

Thank you for everything you've done for me in the past 18 years, I wouldn't be who I am without your guidance and support. I love you.

Love,

Your little girl

Cover Image Credit: Rachel Quigley

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15 Things You Realize As Your Baby Brother Grows Up

No matter how old he gets, he will always be your baby brother.
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Despite the fistfights and days of locking each other out of the house, a little brother is one of the biggest blessings you can receive. Most sisters can agree that they probably bossed their brothers around a lot when they were younger (and probably still do). Most sisters have also most likely forced their brothers to participate in many games that were only enjoyable for one party (baby dolls, house, dress up, etc.)

As a little brother grows up, you start to realize a lot of things as they become your lifelong best friend. Here are 15 of them:

1. He will outgrow you

Even though you were once able to beat him in a wrestling match, and have a fair game of tag, as you get older, he begins to pass you up in size and you realize it probably isn't in your best interest to pick a fight.

2. Teenage boy sass is a real thing

So many times, girls get a bad rep for the teenage phase, but let me tell you, teenage boys have just as much sass if not more than the average hormonal girl. But you also realize that you will get through it, and he is still your sweet brother somewhere deep, deep down.

3. He will go through a phase when he is too cool for you

Your whole life you have been used to your little brother looking up to you and wanting to be just like you and do all the things you do. This probably really annoyed you at some point too and I know I found the words "stop copying me" coming out of my mouth a lot. Don't wish it away, enjoy these times because there hits a point where he will want to do their own thing for a while.

4. He will begin to form his own opinions, and he is actually really smart

He still looks up to you, but there comes a time when he actually starts to contradict and challenge your opinions, and his arguments are surprisingly really good. You learn a lot from your little brother, so start listening to what they have to say sometimes.

5. No girl will ever be good enough for him

When he brings a girl home, you can't help but judge everything about her (no pressure) because to you, no girl will match up to his awesomeness. You know you are annoying, over-controlling, and overly judgmental, but you can't help it, he is your baby brother after all.

6. Regardless of how old or big he gets, if anyone messes with him, you will "beat them up"

I am not a fighter, but somehow anytime someone messes with my little brother, I get the ego of Muhammed Ali and believe that I can beat anyone up. Even now that he has outgrown me by about six inches and 50 pounds and is definitely a lot stronger than me, I still threaten to protect him because for some reason I feel like I can defend him better than he can himself. If anyone shoves him on the soccer field or says something mean to him at school, all of the sudden the big sister is the most intimidating and feisty little 5'4" girl there is out there.

7. He has your back

The once quiet and shy boy you outspoke as a child is not afraid to stand up for you. Even if he knows you're wrong, he is just as protective of you as you are of him and he will always be there for you whether you need a shoulder to cry on, you've had a fight with your friends and need someone to talk to, or a guy blows you off and you just need dairy queen and a movie night.

8. People will think he is your boyfriend and vice versa

As little kids, you were obviously the big sister, but now that he has outgrown you, hit puberty and matured, people mistake him as your boyfriend all the time. When you go to dinner and get the "you are such a cute couple" comment, you can't help but laugh.

9. All of his academic success is obviously all thanks to you

All the days you forced him to play "school" with you and tried to teach him everything you knew paid off because he actually knows what he is doing now. You're welcome.

10. Every year he turns another year older, you freak out because you remember how old you felt when you were his age, and it is not possible for him to be that old

No, no, no. He is little. He cannot drive just because he is 16. That is scary. [Only you were mature enough and ready to drive at 16.] There is no way that he is already 18 and can vote. You will never get used to the fact that he is growing up at the same pace as you are.

11. He is the one person who defies your theory that you are never wrong

He always has your best interests in mind, so if he disapproves of a guy, or questions a choice you are making, he is most likely right, just listen to him. Seriously, it will save you time in the future.

12. You will always worry about him

Yes, you are annoying and you know he can handle himself, but the thought of him ever getting hurt kills you. Every time he goes out or takes a risk, you worry about him. However, you also know and trust that he is smart and makes good choices, and if he ever doesn't, you will always be here to save the day, duh!

13. You are his biggest fan

And you are absolutely obnoxious at sporting games and other events. You are the first person to yell at the referee when he gets fouled and the loudest person screaming when he scores a goal. You also find yourself bragging about him to your friends because you are just so proud, and you taught him everything he knows (duh again).

14. He is your best friend

You can tell him anything and he can tell you anything. You guys have a pact and he won't tell your secrets. He's your person, and you have come to find out that he actually gives great advice when you give him the chance to talk.

15. No matter how old he gets, he will always be your baby brother

No matter how old my brother gets, we still say "I love you" every night and he will always be my little baby brother who I watch over and protect, always. I know I have a lifelong best friend who I can lean on during hard times, and celebrate with when the times are good. Bless up.

Special shoutout to my baby brother, Luke, for teaching me so much about myself and always being there for me.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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To The Single Mom Who Raised Me, I Am Strong Because Of You

She brought me into this world and has definitely threatened to take me out.

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Without my mom, I don't know who I would be today. She has taught me many lessons but I believe the most important was to create my own independence and never depend on a spouse to take care of me. My mother went back to school when I was a young girl and thankfully we had my grandparents to help my mom raise me while she did school full time and worked two jobs.

My mom left a situation that she knew was not safe nor healthy for either of us and even though I did not understand why until I was older, I'm thankful that she did. I used to resent her for what she did but it wasn't until I was old enough to know and understand that I saw why and I felt terrible for blaming everything on her for years and years.

Even though we have our differences, my mom will always be my best friend and number one fan. We have differing views and opinions but that is because she taught me to be a free thinker and have an independent mindset. She taught me how to cook more homemade dishes than one could dream of and was proof that God works miracles. My mom is my best friend and without her, I don't know how I could ever make it through this life. There are many things we don't agree upon but in the end, we put that aside and love each other anyway.

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