I will admit that I lived a fairly sheltered life. Growing up in my world there was no such thing as an absent father. I was fairly old before I realized that not all families had a Dad. I was even older before I realized that sometimes even a Dad who hasn't left a family is an absent father.
Now that I'm an adult and have had a little bit more exposure to the world, I have become more aware of the impact that a Dad has on a child's life. I see what not having a Dad can do and have learned the importance of a positive father figure.
I guess I am one of the lucky ones. I had a very present father, in all aspects of the word. He was not only there but he was a hands on father. So, I will take this opportunity, dear Dad, to say thank you. Thank you for so many things, where do I even start?
Thank you, Dad:
For working long shifts in a dirty factory, not only to put food on my table, but so that I could wear nice new clothes to school every year, and take vacations, and go to music lessons.
For coming home from those long shifts late at night and standing outside in the middle of winter to flood the backyard so that I could have my own private skating rink.
For teaching me to skate on said rink, and to ride a bike.
For cooking dinner before heading out to your afternoon shift at work, showing me that it takes teamwork to run a household and a family.
For fixing things.
For eating my Easy Bake Oven cakes. I mean c'mon..a cake that comes in an envelope and is baked by a lightbulb?? Yet you actually ate them!!
For attending every single baseball game, music performance and dance recital. Even when taking the time off work meant working even later into the night.
For giving me an appreciation of hockey.
For making me a Canadians fan.
For helping me with my multiplication tables when I struggled with them.
For taking me to the zoo, amusement parks and March Break skiing trips.
For defending me when you felt like I wasn't given a fair chance and encouraging me to do my best when I wasn't giving it my all.
For driving a van full of loud, giggling girls to school dances and being there at the end to pick us up.
For not letting me stay out all night and always questioning where I was going, who I was going with and when I was going to be home.
For breaking up fights between Mum and I and for making sure I knew when I had crossed the line into disrespect.
For loving my Mother, in turn teaching me that I deserve to be loved.
For working hard enough and being smart enough with your money to help me with my education.
For talking me through some of my political science papers in University.
For giving me enough freedom to let me move away from home to go to school and enough sense to know how far that freedom stretched.
For forcing me to get myself out of some of my own messes (ie:very large phone bills)
For standing front and centre, eyes filled with tears, heart filled with pride, video camera in hand as I walked across that stage to get my degree at my University graduation.
For wanting to beat up anyone that has hurt me but for not actually going through with it.
For giving me your honest opinions when we were car shopping and house hunting.
For helping me understand mortgages, lines of credits and RRSP's.
For walking me down the aisle.
For loving my husband.
For guiding me through fixing my own furnace.
For not expecting me to pass that task along to my husband.
For always expecting me to be able to do anything and for never assuming I couldn't do something because I was a girl.
For being a good Grandfather.
For spending so much time during my son's NICU stay holding him close, letting him know he had a huge support system.
For planting flowers with my son.
For giving my daughter Grandad cuddles.
For still listening to me cry when I feel defeated and giving me the words I need to pick myself up.
Most importantly for giving me the tools to have picked a good husband. A husband that not only is good to me but is and will continue to be the kind of Dad to my children that you were to yours.
Thank you Dad, from the very bottom of my heart.