I am very lucky to have a father who defines his self-worth, in large part, by what he does for his wife and daughter.
So, in honor of my dad, I would like to share a story.
I think it reveals a lot about who my dad is as a father.
When I was probably five-years-old, I had a rabbit puppet named Natasha. She wasn't very fancy--just a rag-tag blue puppet with whiskers and a pink nose. But I loved her.
My parents purchased Natasha during a trip to visit my grandparents. If memory serves, the store was about four hours into our five-hour trip to the simple but beautiful home in Northwest Arkansas -- where my grandmother baked her melt-in-your-mouth angel food cake especially for me and my granddad would play hide and seek for hours.
Natasha slept with me at night and she accompanied me on trips. Until, one day, she was gone. Lost.
My heart was broken.
I had dozens of other stuffed animals, all of whom were bigger and fancier.
It didn't matter. I was heart-broken.
And so my father, who always has believed that you either find a way to stop someone from crying or join in their tears, got in his car, drove four-hours each way and came back with another Natasha. (Thank goodness she wasn't an original.)
The problems in my adult life have not been that easy to solve.
But that has never stopped my father from wanting to.
My dad never missed a dance or piano recital.
He loved every pet as much as I did, and he dug a grave at the death of each, with tears in his eyes.
He went down to the courthouse to pay the speeding ticket I got when I was 16 (and it was a whopper.) He told me not to worry about it but to be more careful. (And he didn't even tell my mother.)
He waited for me at the finish-line of the half-marathon I ran year-before-last, when I was running just to remember that I was still alive.
I have known from a very early age that I am the most important thing in my parents' lives. They each set such a high standard of parenting -- one that, in many ways, I doubt I will be able to equal.
If I could tell my dad one thing it would be to stop worrying so much, to stop trying so hard to find a way to fix all my problems.
But that would be like telling the Pope to stop praying.
Happy Father's Day, Dad. You are very, very loved.