Wednesday, August 09, 2006

He inspires me to want to change the world.

My Dad's birthday is today, August 10th. How do I begin to tell you about my dad?

My dad loves me unconditionally. That, I have always known.

My dad cares for me, continually offering kindness and guidance.

My dad provides for me. He worked hard so my mom could stay home, so we would have extra money for season passes to the swimming pool, bikes, roller skates, amusement parks, family vacations all across the country, assisting with college educations and bailing me out when I needed it.My dad visits me and I know I am always welcome in his home.

My dad listens to me. He hears my hopes and dreams and wants them to become my reality. He is thrilled with my successes and accomplishments and accepting of me regardless.

My dad helps people. My entire life, my dad earned his living helping people. He says, he "flunked retirement." In NW Arkansas, he donates his time to a local children's shelter (in addition to numerous other pursuits). Today, I will spend my day helping others because I am my father's daughter.

My dad is faithful. My parents raised me in the church and instilled their upstanding values in me. He has always done what he felt was in the best interest of his family.

My dad is friendly. We often hosted Superbowl parties and got together frequently with other families in our communitiy.My dad is creative. He would author and deliver "Reddy Fox" stories for us at bedtime. He writes speeches that move people to tears.

My dad is brave. Although he didn't ask to, he served his country honorably in Vietnam. (He has recently written a book sharing about his experiences.) He is facing prostate cancer with calm resolve and the determination to live every day to the fullest. He is baffling the doctors with his continually improving test scores.

My dad makes my happiness a priority. He taught me how to ride a bike. He built tree houses for me. I still look fondly on weeping willow and crab apple trees because of the perches my dad built for me to spend time in them. Once, at an auction, he saw a pole digger and convinced my mom to let him buy it along with a telephone pole. He dug a hole in the middle of our backyard, poured cement into it and built a pulley swing that allowed us, and the neighborhood kids, to jump from our tree house and fly across the yard.My dad taught me about trees. He spends time with me observing, reflecting, noticing and appreciating beauty in nature and elsewhere. He helped me prepare a forestry book for my 4-H club that received the Reserved Grand Champion prize at the Cherokee county fair.

My dad took me hiking, camping and fishing. He even took us into the woods and let us shoot his guns at aluminum cans.My dad taught me to be capable and respects my opinions. As a child, I was allowed to form my own ideas. In my family, we could say, "I appreciate your suggestion and will take it into consideration" then still decide for ourselves.

My dad is a strategic planner and inductive thinker. From him, I learned to imagine a myriad of possibilities in nearly every situation.

My dad is still learning. He is considering starting a blog of his own. He knows way more about photography and Photoshop than I do. He is working on scanning photos from my childhood to share with me but right now, most of the ones I have are from Sam's.

My dad is an amazing husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend. Thank you for all you do, Dad and most of all, thanks for being you. Happy Birthday.


Sarah M said...

Mary, really nice tribute to you dad. I'm sure he is extremely proud of you...and Happy Birthday Bill!

Carma said...

What a great birthday gift to your dad. Letting him know how much you appriciate all he has done for you.