When I was younger, all my friends had moms who would braid their hair or go prom dress shopping with them. They also talked to them about cramps and made the first Victoria's Secret field trip. All my friends had a female role model they lived with who was their mom, actual mom encompassing what that word means and who lived with them.

This was not me. I grew up getting my hair put up by my dad and dragging him to dress stores. He gave me the talk about cramps and went with me the first time I ever went to Victoria's Secret. He was my role model. He still is.

10 things I have learned from the strongest person and best dad in the world.

1. Our injuries do not define us nor our actions.

Dad

Myself

When my dad wasn't that much older than I was, he was told that by the time he was 50 that he would be in a wheelchair. He is now 53 and still walking. When someone has degenerative disk disease there are limitations typically. Yet he always goes against them. My dad never lets his disease tell him what to do and it reminds me just what perseverance can do.

2. It is okay to ask for help

Just a few of the many important extended family

Just the few of the many family members who helped raise me

While my dad definitely doubles as my mom, my aunts play a giant role too. He grew up in a house with three brothers. When it came down to the bras and periods and similar things he had my aunts help. All of their help on just how to handle it and because of that, I learned asking for help isn't a sign of weakness--just necessary.

3. Being a responsible adult can mean sacrifice

F 16

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Truly loving someone means sacrifice. He retired out of the Air Force at 20 years just to take care of my brother and I. He didn't go back to school till my sophomore year of high school just because he wanted to make sure as a family we could handle it. I have rarely heard of him going on a date. This is the epitimy of sacrifice and I genuinely can't thank him enough for it.

4. Being a parent is one of the singular best joys in life

My bubba and I

Myself

When everything went to crap it didn't just leave me with a single parent it left my brother with one as well. It was because of seeing how my dad stepped up that it was in that moment it showed me I couldn't leave my brother the way she did. I had to become more than just his sister. I had to become momma. To this day he referrer to me as somy (sister-momma). Helping raise him has been one of the singular greatest joys in my short life.

5. Follow your gut and have the hard conversations

Bench

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First instincts, while sometimes are wrong, they come from a place in our gut. Not the bile filled, anatomy gut, but our instincts. Most of the time it comes from a good place meaning we should listen to it. They sometimes tell us to have hard conversations, but those conversations have to happen for growth to happen. In life that growth is a must.

6. Newton's Laws of Physics are not just for physics.

Equal and opposite reactions

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The rule that comes to mind is what comes up must come down. Another rule is every action has an equal and opposite reaction. I've learned that this is so freaking true when we apply it to life actions. My dad has helped me see this because I talk to him about everything. He typically will tell me what the reaction will be and most of the time he ends up being correct.

7. It is good to question everything

question Mark

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When I say everything I mean everything. Religion, politics, and media to name a few. His intention is for me not to take up his views, but more so to question them and determine my own views from that. My dad has always told my brother and I to be our own separate people and to have a dad who wants that for me is not something I take lightly.

8. Sometimes the hardest choices are the best choices.

Doors

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No one said life was easy. We have to make the choices though.

9. Never underestimate how strong I am.

Graduation

Dad and I

A lot of the time we are a lot stronger than we know. I myself am my own worse enemy when it comes to this. I underestimate myself and just how strong I am. He helps me realize that I am a strong woman that can accomplish anything in this world.

10. Never be afraid to try.

Dads graduation

Self

My dad took an extreme chance when he joined the military. He didn't know what was going to happen or where he might end up, but he knew he had to try for his future family. Years later, he still tries in everything he does even if he doesn't know what might happen. He has taught me that trying to better ourselves is better than not trying at all.