I know we don’t talk all that often, but when we do, I always walk away feeling like my life is a little brighter. From the time I was little, I have always cherished your huge bear hugs and the endless compliments you give me regarding my hair cut.
There’s so many distinct memories I have of you as I was growing up. As I’ve thought back on those memories the past couple days, the thing that has seemed to stick out so prevalently is your unending passion for doing the right thing, and loving others, which I have seen reflected so heavily in your actions ever since I could remember. Of course, when I was younger, this just meant you happened to be my favorite uncle.
Something that I have always admired about you is your ability to see right through to people’s true intentions. You have no problem telling people to cut the crap, and there have been numerous times you’ve done this with me. However, along with this comes your inexplicable ability to always see the good in everyone around you.
You always seem to have some little quip of wit or a loving jab to throw my way as well, but you wouldn’t be you without that. I can’t even begin to tell you how much your unending support has meant to me. We don’t often get to talk one on one, but I always know I could come to you if I ever had an issue, or just wanted to chat.
Although I’m sure you think I haven’t noticed, I know you do a lot of looking out for me. From asking me questions about school to always being very interested in my latest plan for life. As far as being an uncle goes, you’ve done a pretty top notch job. I’d have to say, though, that you’re an even better father.
I’ve grown up with Kelly, Joe, Molly, and Katie, and have always been amazed at how both you and Peggy blessed them with the ability to be such fantastic, Christian people.
As I’ve grown closer to Joe within the past couple years, I’ve seen that reflected most clearly in him. He grew up being sandwiched in age between three girls, which I believe to be a huge reason for his ability to be empathic and caring. But I also attribute a lot of that to you. I believe it takes a real man to be vulnerably loving, and you’ve shown him that tenfold. I see it in the way he cares so much for his sisters, and me.
I’ve watched as you taught Kelly that her quirky and rambunctious side is nothing to be ashamed of. Through watching you, she’s learned that being a beautiful person is more about her ability to embrace herself for who she is. I still find it amazing that she is so confident at such a young age. Again, something she learned from you.
I’ve seen Molly be devastated by heartbreak, whether it be boy related or not, and I’ve seen you silently help her put her heart back together. You’ve taught her that she can do absolutely anything she sets her mind to, as long as she has the strength of God with her. She gets her strong will and independence from you.
I’ve grown up watching Katie. I always admired her, and looked up to her beauty, both inside and out. But far beyond that is her ability to lead her younger siblings in a beautiful and graceful way. Being the oldest can sometimes put a strain on someone from a very young age, but she’s watched you lead your family, and learned that she can lead her siblings lovingly.
I’ve watched you lead your family as a man of God, without fail every time. There have been no shortages of obstacles to overcome, but you have never faltered in being a Christly man who leads his family, nonetheless. You’ve been through so much in your lifetime already, and I can’t help but look up to you and respect you for everything you’ve accomplished.
I guess all there is left to say is: thank you.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I could never even begin to say that enough.
Your Niece and goddaughter,
I'd also like to extend a huge thanks to Peggy, who frantically searched through boxes to find that very old picture for me.