He has shown me what a real man should be like. He worked his way through undergrad and grad school and his work ethic is something I definitely inherited. He was the one who told me that as long as I was willing to work hard, I could have just about anything I wanted. So far, he's been right.
He encouraged my independent streak. He made sure I knew how to fix a flat, jump a battery and paint a room as well as I could cook and keep a clean home. When I set out on my own and moved several time zones away, I left with the confidence that I could take care of myself.
He's been just as much of a protector as he has been a provider. Knowing that he was there to look after me allowed me to flourish as a child. I knew I was going to be taken care of. No matter what, Daddy was going to do what he had to do (legally and ethically) to take care of us.
Now, I'm not saying he has been perfect. No one is perfect and that includes my Dad. As a little girl, there was nothing my Dad couldn't do; but as I got older, the tint on the rose-colored glasses began to fade. As an adult, I see the mistakes and missteps very clearly. Yet, I've been able to learn from those experiences as much as he has.
We have had our disappointments and disagreements over the years. Yet, there has never been a time in all of my 43 years that I have doubted his love for me. I have truly been blessed to have my Dad in my life.
I love you, Dad. Happy Birthday.