my Daddy.

Proof that my dad is awesome - he hula hooped at my sweet 16 party!

Proof that my dad is awesome – he hula hooped at my sweet 16 party!

Tomorrow is my father’s birthday, but I rarely call him my father. Nearly always, he’s my daddy, the man who has quietly taught me more about love, patience, respect, goodness, holiness, and faithfulness than I’ll ever be able to put into words. My daddy is a man I can hardly spend more than 30 seconds thinking about without getting a tear (or ten) in my eye.

In about a month, my daddy will walk me down the aisle and give me in marriage to Anthony. Just the thought of those precious moments brings me to tears (and I’d be willing to bet that if he’s reading this, he’s crying now too). And yet, here we are, mere weeks away from my wedding and I keep coming back to thoughts and memories of my daddy.

My daddy is the one who, throughout my life, has shown me what it means to love, and to love without counting the cost. He loves my mom like no one else, cares for her, and treats her with love and respect. The love he has for my mom was among the most important qualities I sought in a husband. My dad set the example of love and held to it, never wavering from my mom or our family over the years, no matter how tired, stressed, or worn out he was. He sacrificed and loved each of us, but he loves my mom the most. In his quiet, humble way, he showed me the kind of man I wanted to marry.

My daddy is the one who teaches me about service. His faith, though quiet and reserved, moves him to serve others. Whether he is serving my mom, my brother, me, or countless people at church, he has been a continuous example of service throughout my life. There’s nary a problem he doesn’t try to solve, a computer he doesn’t try to fix, or a person he won’t try to help however he can. He’s never been one to make a big show of helping people out either. He simply serves because he can, heaping no praise upon himself. He is truly an example of Christ’s selfless giving.

So much of who I am is wrapped up in my daddy. As much as I consider my mom one of my best friends, I am still a daddy’s girl (and we all know it). My dad has been there for me through every school project, college visit, broken heart, cross-country or cross-city move, and everything in between. I simply wouldn’t be the woman I am today if it weren’t for the love, encouragement, and blessing of my daddy. I couldn’t have written Worthy or experienced in a tangible way the love of the Father if it weren’t for my own daddy. I also wouldn’t be marrying the man I am if it weren’t for my daddy, for the example he set of manhood, service, love, and fidelity. I am who am I because my daddy loved me and always points me, in his own tender way, towards the Father.

My daddy is where I get my gift with words, my stubbornness, my talent and affinity for music, my driving abilities, my love of children, my packing abilities, and so much more. My daddy is the one who gave Anthony permission to marry me, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. My daddy was the one who guarded my heart and loved me like a Father, waiting (more patiently than I) for the right one to come along. After Anthony and I got engaged, my daddy gave in when I asked him to watch Father of the Bride with me again – as if it didn’t make us cry our eyes out years before. When I went to pick out my wedding dress, I knew that I’d know the dress when it made my daddy cry. I was right.

So even though in about a month, he’ll give me away, he’ll always be my daddy and I’ll always be his Sweet Pea. Words can never fully express how proud I am to be his daughter. I love you Daddy, happy birthday.

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