I don’t remember when we first met, but I know you do. I know you do because I will always remember when I first met my child. I never understood the unconditional nature of a father’s love until that moment when I first laid eyes on this tiny person I helped create. I know you felt the same way when you first laid eyes on me because you have not only told me you love me, but you’ve shown me. You have always been there to encourage me in my dreams (no matter how farfetched) and to give advice when I need it, even though I may not want it.
When I was a kid, you were the smartest, strongest guy in the whole world. I looked up to you like you were superman. When I was a teenager, you were so very dumb. You just didn’t understand how much you ruined my life with rules and consequences for my mistakes. And you certainly didn’t love me. If you loved me you’d let me do what I want! When I finally became a man (which took way longer than it should have), you became smart again. It’s truly amazing how your intelligence level changed so much over the years! Looking back, though, it turns out you were pretty smart the entire time. I just couldn’t see it because I wasn’t that smart. But you loved me anyway
I haven’t always made it easy on you which makes it all the more impressive that you have been there for me and loved me the whole time. Some mistakes I have made have led to lectures, spankings, disappointed looks, and just plain sadness from you. Those times you told me “this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you” were true. I didn’t see it at the time, but now I get it! It’s not just dishing out the punishment that hurt you, though; it was my actions. Some of the mistakes I’ve made haven’t hurt you like they could have because you don’t know about them. But knowing how much they would have hurt you makes me sad that I ever did some of them. I have deserved so many more lectures, spankings, and disappointed looks than I have ever gotten but I know you would love me anyway despite all those things.
Now that I am a father, I hope to live up to the example you have been in my life. I will do some things differently and I will copy you in others. But, in all things, I hope to be able to show my daughter (and any future children) the same kind of unconditional love that you have shown me for 27 long years. The same kind of unconditional love I felt that first time I met her. That’s all our kids can ever really hope for I guess. The rest of it is just a by-product of that love.
Thank you for being you,