A Letter to My Dad

To my Dad on his birthday,

Dad, as the years go by I see more and more how greatly you have loved me and my brothers. I better see your sacrifices made out of love for us. How you gave up living close to your job and adopted an hour or longer commute so that we could grow up in a good neighborhood with great schools. How you gave up countless hours of sleep to work endless hours at your job so that we could have everything we needed and more, so that money was never a worry of ours. I realize now as a working adult how incredibly difficult and tiring working 90-100 hour weeks must have been. I realize now how easy it would have been to take out all of your frustration and exhaustion on us, as I am tempted to do to my husband when I am exhausted after work. Yet you never did. You always showed us love. I realize now how much it meant when you would sacrifice your one free event a week- Saturday morning golf- to go to one of our sporting events, or even to coach at one of our sporting events. So many of your loving sacrifices I realize now as I have grown older, and I am so grateful for you Dad.

Dad, you have always showed up for us. I remember in the seventh grade how you woke up after two hours of sleep just to be able to spend five minutes in the car driving me to school. I remember Mom reminding me to say thank you because you had had so little sleep the night before and did not have to drive me, yet you wanted the one-on-one time with me. Even if it was only five minutes.  I do not remember a single sporting event, music recital, or graduation that you were not there for, regardless of how big or small of a deal I thought the event was. You took over as my confirmation group leader in the sixth grade when my original leader left, and you were always there at the end of a track or cross country race to hug me. I remember the summer before my senior year when you were absolutely swamped in work, yet you still spent nine hours in the car with us to spend half a day at the beach before you (very sadly) flew back to work. You drove all the way up to Austin just to go to one doctor’s appointment with me, and to make me feel safer and calmer.  Your constant presence in our lives makes very clear your deep love for us.

Dad, your level of dedication to what you value is honorable and inspirational. As you approach your retirement from over 30 years with Ernst and Young, I want you to know how incredibly proud of you I am and how in awe I am that you have dedicated so many years to such an impressive company. You have told me time and time again how it was not always easy, and in fact rarely ever was easy, to work for such a company. Yet you had a commitment to them so you did it and found fulfillment and purpose in the work. More importantly though, you did the work because of your dedication, and the joy and sense of purpose you have in your family. Everything you do is a testament to your dedication to us, your family. We were not the easiest children to raise, but you did it without complaining and with joy. Lastly, your dedication to the church and to Christ is something we all look up to. As young as I can remember, you have set a positive example of the faith. You have not hid your own flaws, but rather used them to turn us towards the right path.

And Dad, more on encouragement. You have always encouraged us in a plethora of ways. Adding on to the same faith-related theme stated above, you have been one of my biggest encouragers to pursue Christ. You have always pushed us to go to church, even when we did not want to, because you said that God has given us so much, we can give just one hour a week. You have stressed the importance of giving back to the church and you have lived that example for us. You wrote little notes next to passages in my Bible the first time I went to sleepaway camp in the third grade, and I still see those little notes today as a 24 year-old. Dad you are a wonderful role model of faith to us.

You encourage us not only in the faith, but to pursue our own dreams, and to not sell ourselves short. I get annoyed but am also encouraged whenever we are talking on the phone and I say “I will never make that much money” and you say “don’t you ever say that; you don’t know what might happen”. You have taught us not to slot ourselves into a position just because we think we are not good enough. You constantly get on me to have a positive mental attitude, which can also be irritating to hear but it is what I need to hear. You have encouraged me in every single endeavor I have ever attempted, from running collegiate cross country, to pole vaulting in Reno, Nevada, to going to Quantico when I thought I wanted to be a Marine, to when I finally settled on going to nursing school. You are my greatest supporter and for that I am so thankful.

Dad your wisdom and knowledge has been such a gift to us, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time. You always tell us what we need to hear versus what we want to hear, which can be hard but is necessary and done out of love. You tell us to do what we dream, but to remember that our dreams must also pay the bills. You have told us how to properly save our money from a very young age, and how important it is to not spend our entire paycheck. Your financial wisdom and knowledge is something I am already thankful for at age 24, and I will most certainly be thankful for at age 54.

Dad, your love of quality time with family, being outside, going to Gulf Shores, watching Live PD, and grilling pick of the chicks has greatly impacted me. Maybe more so the “quality time with family” love than the “watching Live PD” love. Nevertheless, you have given me and the rest of our family so incredibly much. I love you and I hope this year and new chapter of your life is the best yet.

Love, Kara

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