My dad’s not an emotional guy. Honestly, nobody in my immediate family is, besides myself. So, I’m sure he was absolutely terrified the first time he realized he had a very emotional daughter. Maybe it was when I cried full tears when I cried during an episode of That’s So Raven. Or maybe it was when my Dad had to take a phone call during my field hockey game and I was so sad he missed part of my time playing – even though I was unabashedly terrible at the game.
I like to think of the moment he realized I was going to be a handful. Not in the traditional sense: I wasn’t a teenager to stay out late, going to parties or drinking. I was so stressed out about getting into a good college, I literally applied to fifteen schools. But I was (er: am) a handful in a different way. Not to feed into stereotypes, but I want to talk through every emotion I’m feeling. I am a crier both when I’m happy and when I’m sad. I literally cannot remember the last time – if ever – I saw my dad cry. So, I’m sure that I might’ve been worse than a kid that partied too often.
But he’s handled it like a champ. Not without fights. Not without the desire to end conversations before they even begin. But he did it because he loves me. He values my opinion. He’s proud of me. He’s the kind of dad that will patiently listen to me walk through every single outcome of a work situation, before actually telling me what I needed to do was the first option. Did I mention I also like to talk? We all know I definitely got that trait from him.
He’s the kind of dad that makes what’s important to me, important to him. Because I went to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he’s one of the biggest Tar Heel fans I know. He’s come to visit me and my life in DC more than any other friend or family member. He went to my favorite restaurant with me in DC three times when he visited, although I’m sure he would have preferred going somewhere else. He cares. He doesn’t show it with overt declarations. He shows it by caring about what I have to say.
He rises to the occasion of a daughter with countless opinions, who’s overtly emotional about everything, and who has a hard admitting when she’s wrong. He loves me nonetheless. He does so with joy. He is one of the happiest people I know and is a constant example of how I want to live every day to the fullest.
I hope he knows how much I love him and how I thank God for him every single day.