“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.” ― Jim Valvano
My father, like any child, would say about their father, is the absolute best. He's the most selfless man who has made many mistakes in his life... but loving his family was never one of them. You see, my father has always done what he had to do to support and provide for his family.
When I was two, my father started working on an offshore drilling rig. So from that point on my life revolved around "hitches." A hitch is basically a rotation of time for being on the rig and off the rig, and if you're an oilfield child like me... you will definitely understand what I'm saying. Some hitches were way harder than others, I would cry for days on end when he left.
When I was a toddler, it didn't really matter all that much because I just knew Dad was gone but he would be back. But, as I got older and entered school age, it was then that I became a little more aware, I guess you could say. All the reasoning being were school activities playing a major role. It wasn't just, "Dad is gone out on a hitch, he'll be back later." It was more like, "okay Dad is gone again so see if Mom can go on this field trip with me," or it was "have mom bring me some lunch since Dad can't." But when Dad was home, he was all in; unfortunately, like I said, life revolved around hitches. And because of this, a lot of times life didn't pause just for Dad's home hitch. See, there were many holidays, birthdays, ball games, etc., that dad missed. There were kids on Christmas that got to open their presents first thing Christmas morning every year of their life, but for me, there were a couple of years that Dad was leaving a few days before Christmas, so we had it early. Or there were a couple of years that Dad was coming home a littler than Christmas day, so we would wait for him a couple days after Christmas just so he could see us open presents.
As a kid, it hurt me so bad to know that my dad wasn't always there. I cried at school knowing kids would get to go home to their dad, and I cried when kids would talk about how their dad tucked them in every night. But as I have gotten older, I realize that it hurt him more than it hurt us. I realize that while I was home, enjoying time with my mom and brother; he was out on a rig by himself with a whole crew of guys just doing what he had to do to provide. It hurt him to know he missed all of those things, and it especially hurt him to know that when he got home he was only going to be able to hear about it. It hurt him to know that he didn't actually get to see it and experience it. And I think what hurt him most of all and still does to this day, is how much his kids grow up when he's gone. It goes by in the blink of an eye. For me it was just like yesterday I was starting 7th grade, and now I am in my second year of college.
So, my life as an oil rig child has been nothing short of amazing, it's taught me so much about sacrifice, life, love, and understanding. It's a dangerous job, and I am so thankful to have a father who works so hard and puts himself in the position where anything could go wrong on that rig in the blink of an eye.
Dad, when you read this... Just know that you're my superhero. Thank you for the years of unconditional support and being there for me and always believing in my dreams even when I didn't. The things you missed don't even matter to me, all that matters is that I had a father who did everything he could to provide for me. Thank you for teaching me respect for the oilfield, even when you didn't realize you were doing it.
Your super proud daughter