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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Dear Mom, I Hope You Know

I hope you know that I am here for you--until the very end.
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Dear Mom,

I hope you know that I appreciate you.

You are the hardest working woman I know, continuously putting your family before yourself. Thank you for doing all of the tedious jobs that no one wants to do like keeping the house in order, cooking the food, and doing the laundry. Thank you for constantly putting up with my siblings and I. Thank you for always supporting us in our interests and hobbies. Thank you for investing in our daily lives and listening to our minor problems. Thank you for always loving us unconditionally.

SEE ALSO: 51 Things My Mom Didn't Think I Was Listening To...

I hope you know I'm sorry.

I know I can be a big pain in the butt sometimes, and for that I'm sorry. I'm sorry for yelling at you, arguing with you, not listening to you, and making dumb decisions at times, but thank you for loving me anyways. Thank you for helping me stand back up, teaching me right from wrong, and pushing me to be the very best version of me.

I hope you know your love inspires me.

You live your life with a love that is contagious. Whether its nurturing love, tough love, friendly love, or romantic love, you have it all and you show it daily. The love you and Dad share is something I hope to find one day and the love you have for your family is evident in the way you constantly put us first.

I hope you know that you are my biggest role model and hero.

Ever since I was a little girl, you have been the person I have looked to in my life. You are strong, independent, confident, loving, supportive, and nurturing-- everything I strive to be as a woman and as a future mother. You give the best advice, even when I don't always take it. Though, I should know better by now because mothers always know best. Without you in my life, I honestly don't know where I'd be.

I hope you know that you are my best friend.

Not only are you my biggest cheerleader supporting me in everything I do, you are the person I talk to about everything, whether it's good or bad. I'm honestly so thankful for the relationship we share because I've had countless screwups and you literally give the best advice. Seriously, thank you for being the person I can count on at all times, at any time of the day or even night to just talk with. I mean we really do have some of the best conversations, best laughs, best cries (when needed), and the most fun watching cheesy chick flicks together or going on crazy shopping adventures.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl With The Cool Mom

I hope you know that I am here for you--until the very end.

I don't mean to make you cry or anything -- even though you probably already are, but I want you to know that when the time comes, I'm going to be there for you just like all of these years you've been here for me. I will be there to support you, talk with you, laugh with you, cry with you, and love you for all of my life.

Honestly, I can't really imagine my life without you -- but it doesn't matter because I wouldn't be here without you, so here's to you.

Thank you for being you.

Love you lots!

Your daughter.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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I Need You To Stop Calling Immigrants "Illegal"

An introductory piece to my retelling of immigrant stories highlighting why these people specifically chose to come into the U.S. "illegally"

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Since I was a kid, I've been surrounded by talks of illegal immigration. I remember being scared watching the news covering illegal immigration. I remember being overly cautious whenever near law officials and most of all, I remember peers and adults calling illegal immigrants aliens, rapists, murderers, drug dealers, and terrorists. What they didn't realize is that these illegal immigrants that they are describing are people I know.

Or maybe they did realize because as ugly as it is to say, the United States is a xenophobic place.

Everyone blames these immigrants for being illegal. Yes, they crossed the border or overstayed their visas but what no one is blaming are events that led them to do that. The majority of immigrants don't want to leave their home country but are forced to, due to violence, poverty and the lack of jobs in their communities. Immigrants come to the U.S. not just for themselves but for a better life, since when has this pursuit of happiness been illegal? Is it only legal for the white community?

No one blames the U.S and the Mexican government, who have in no way formed a solution for this problem, instead choosing to encourage xenophobic and white supremacist views. No one is blaming President Trump who continues to spread lies about immigrants, who continues to spread false facts, especially exemplified in his recent address. No one is prosecuting ICE officials who are responsible for having 22 immigrants die in their detention centers in the past 2 years. And since this whole government shutdown began over wall funding, not one story has overtly focused on the immigrant story.

There are immigrants who have been in the U.S for 18+ years and they are just as American as I am and every other U.S. citizen. They are just as hardworking and contributive to society. The only thing that separates them from the U.S. populace is a decision that they made when they were young adults and had no other option. A decision they made before 9/11-- before serious security checks were increased, especially targeted at individuals from other countries.

The reason that 12 million+ illegal immigrants are "illegal" is to blame on xenophobic views in the U.S. The so-called wall that will supposedly keep out gangs, drugs and violent immigrants from the U.S-- is it any coincidence that it is only separating Mexico and Central America from the U.S.? Why not build a wall separating Canada from the U.S.? Because the simple fact of the matter is that the United States does not care whether white people come into this country.

So many people in the U.S. are not able to comprehend the reason why so many immigrant families come to the U.S. They don't understand their stories and the several centuries of events that led to this. The only way that White Americans would be open to this idea of freely crossing borders would be if these immigrants were white-- mimicking exactly what happened in America when Europeans colonized.

Throughout these next few months, I hope to be able to retell immigrant stories-- the reasons why they migrated to the U.S., and especially how they are currently living the American Dream. These immigrants are so often wrongly represented by xenophobic views labeling them as the villain to the U.S. citizens' story that it is time that these "illegal" immigrants get to have their stories truthfully told, especially to stop the fear-mongering that surround these individuals and their lives. These stories that will be published are also not meant to paint the whole immigrant experience in a happy, innocent tone. Immigrant stories are filled with harsh realities that many individuals in the U.S. have had the privilege of not experiencing, but should otherwise still be knowledgable about.

As U.S. citizens, living in privilege is something that we take for granted, to the point that we don't even notice the adversities occurring in other countries-- ignorant to the reason why many of these individuals look to the American Dream as an emblem of hope.

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