Dad, Thank You For All The Fun And Laughs You Bring To Our Family

Dad, Thank You For All The Fun And Laughs You Bring To Our Family

You are, and will always be, the first guy to love me for all that I am.
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Age is just a number. I want you to know that. You may be middle age (double nickel specifically), but you are the funniest, wannabe hippest guy I know. There's a lot you have done for me and I want you to know what those things are.

You raised two daughters and lived with all women. It probably wasn't as bad when we were little but as soon as I got into middle school and the teenage years hit, I distinctly remember any time mom and I would get into a fight you would casually slip out of the room. You did your best when it came to dealing with our hormones and pointless, petty arguments.

You always find a way to put a smile on my face. I could be laying on the couch and you decide to make a funny comment or something to get my attention. You love getting a reaction out of all of us. Even when you are the only one laughing, it makes me happy. You may have really lame jokes, but what dad doesn't?

You are awkward but I absolutely love it.

I got it from you! Just like you and mom, I am always willing to start a conversation. But like you, it may be a completely random topic. Like the last you came up to school to visit me, you asked me, "So... are you failing any of your classes yet?" Now, you know I have never come close to failing a class, but you asked and it started a conversation and we didn't stop talking until I had to leave later that day. You may be awkward and not always know what to say, but you have your own way of saying it that makes it special to me.

You are the sole reason I am in love with professional sports.

You are the man that took me to my first NFL game. It was a preseason game because I was eight-years-old and mom thought it was inappropriate to take me to a regular season game (because of profanity). You taught me the rules and regulations of baseball and football. You sat on the couch with me watching baseball on TV. You also put up with me asking questions every two minutes when you would rather be listening to the commentary.

Who needs a son when you have a diehard sports fan that will talk baseball to you anytime! Because of you, I have the memory of getting my Instagram picture up on the jumbotron at Busch Stadium. Because of you, my dream job is work for the St. Louis Cardinals one day.

You support everything I do. When I was young, you and mom got me involved. You both signed me up for YMCA soccer and City softball. You both also signed me up for dance class and piano lessons. I continued with all three of those activities until one day, I realized I was not good at sports. However, I continued to dance in middle school in the theater department. I also took up singing.

By high school, I was a fine arts kid. Although sports were your forte, you supported me through it all. You and mom would be at all my concerts and theater productions. I still remember when my dance recital was over, mom would pick me up from backstage and you would be there with flowers and a big hug. Even when I'm in college, you get disappointed when you can't see a concert.

Even in college, you push me to follow my dreams. When I talk about auditioning for another show, you tell me to go for it! You continue to believe in me even when I don't believe in myself.

You are, and will always be the first guy to love me for all that I am. You've seen me disappointed, you've seen me excited, you've seen me heartbroken. I know that you will continue to love me no matter what I go through. I know it's hard for you to see your little girl grow up and date other people, but always know that I will always be your daughter and you will always be the first guy to ever love me.

What if someone told you 30 years ago that you would be married and have two daughters? You went from a family of all boys to your very own family of girls (including the dog). Would you believe it? When I ask, "Were you hoping for a boy?" and you always answer, "I just wanted you to be healthy." I know you want me to stay two-years-old forever and go to school at home, but you always seem to be proud and happy everytime I get home from school.

Age is just a number, but I love you, old man.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Pellock

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An Open Letter to the Best Friend I Didn't See Coming

Some people come into your life and change you forever—thanks, bestie.
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Dear best friend,

I wasn't expecting you when God placed you in my life. I had my friends. I had my people. I wasn't exactly open to the idea of new meaningful friendships because I had the ones I needed, and it didn't seem like I really needed anybody new.

Thank God that was false. Sometimes you meet people and you just know that you're going to be good friends with. Sometimes you meet people and you realize that there is no such thing as chance. I think God has a funny way of making it seem as if the things that happen to us are by chance, but honestly, that’s a load of crap. If the biggest moments of our lives were left up to chance, then I believe that would make God out to seem as if he didn’t care. It would make it seem as if He was truly abandoning me and making me face some of my most important seasons fully isolated. But you, best friend, are a true testament to the fact that God doesn’t just leave such important aspects up to chance. Thank you for taking a chance on our friendship, and thank you for allowing me to take a chance on what I didn’t realize would be the most impactful friendship in my entire life.

Thank you for being real with me. Thank you for not sugar coating things. Thank you for telling me when I have a bad attitude. Thank you for loving me through my mistakes. Thank you for supporting me in my decisions, even if it isn’t always the decision you would make. Thank you for wanting the best for me, and for making that your true intent behind the words that you say to me, whether they be constructive criticism or encouragement.

Thank you for being a goof with me. Thank you for putting me first. Thank you for seeing the importance of our friendship. Thank you for making time in your schedule for us to just sit and do homework, eat Mexican food, or sit on the porch and listen to music that emotionally wrecks you.

You’re one of a kind. You’re a shoulder to lean on. You’re a safe place. You’re a free spirit. You’re rough and tough, but your heart melts for the people you love and it’s obvious. You’re more than meets the eye. You are worth getting to know. You are worth loving. You pursue people. You are passionate about your future. You are everything that a person needs, and I really thank God that for some reason you continue to choose to be in my life. Thank you for literally dragging me up my mountains of fear when I want to stay exactly where I am at and wallow in the sadness. You bring joy—true joy—wherever you go. You are my best friend, confidant, and biggest fan. You will be the Maid of Honor, Godmother, and fun Aunt.

I used to think lifelong friendships weren’t really a thing. It just seemed like people always grew apart and forever was never a point that was attainable. Best friends forever is a cliché phrase that is continuously overused nowadays (sometimes, I even used to make light of it), but thanks for making that a reality. You are truly the best friend I could have asked for. So thank you for it all. You make life more fun, and I couldn’t thank God more for making an incredible human, friends with me.

I love you, pal!

JQ

Cover Image Credit: Julia Dee Qualls

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Your Relationship With Your Parents Changes Over Time, Here's Why

Four ways in which your relationship with your parents change from age eighteen to twenty-two.

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Over spring break I had time to think about all the different ways in which my relationship with my parents has changed throughout college. We've definitely had our ups and downs, but as graduation grows closer, I take time to note how far we have come. From freshman to senior year of college I have undergone a drastic change in how I appreciate my parents.

At eighteen, I wanted to get as far away from my parents as possible. I was going to college in order to be independent, study, and hopefully make a career for myself. Nothing could stop me and no one could give me advice. I was stubborn and hungry to explore the new life that awaited me. I didn't realize how hard it would be being on my own for the first time ever. I had never even been to camp let alone moved to a different state not knowing a single soul. I was happy for the new opportunities but quickly realized how much I had been sheltered. Initially, I resented my parents for my little life experience going into college but as the years have passed I realized I can't be so immature to put my lack of knowledge on them. As an adult I now make things work and advocate for myself. Your struggles as an individual humble you so you can come back together better and stronger than before.

Here are some ways in which the relationship between you and your parents change:

1. You don't live together 24/7, so you appreciate time spent with them.

When you're not sharing a space with your parents and they are not there to nag at you about chores, you finally get to know them as people. As an adult yourself you begin to relate to them in ways that weren't possible in childhood.

2. You realize what is worth fighting over and what is not.

You have learned how to live on your own and set boundaries. As an adult, you come back home knowing what can be improved upon within the relationship and what are things you can let go.

3. You have experience with adulthood now and can understand how really great they are.

Adult struggles are real and now as someone older and wiser, you have experienced a great many. You then begin to realize how your parents took on all these responsibilities plus the responsibility of raising/providing for you. You don't know how they did it, but suddenly you're mad at sixteen-year-old you who fought them on everything.

4. They are your biggest support system in wanting you to achieve your dreams.

There is no one quite as invested in your dreams like your parents. When you have no one to turn to and nothing to give you that extra boost of motivation, parents are there. They may not be perfect but they love you more than anyone so call your parents.

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