A Father's Day tribute: Why I appreciate my dad

My husband and I joke that Father's Day is just another moneymaker for Hallmark - an excuse to be manipulated by store signs, advertisements, and sales to spend cash on a guy who would probably prefer we saved it anyway. But on the positive side, Father's Day does give me an excuse to express all the reasons I appreciate the man to whom I owe my life but rarely ever pay a phone call.

Dad, I appreciate your patience. From reading the same books with me night after night to teaching me how to drive when I could barely keep four wheels on the ground around corners, you've always been patient with me. You've taught me that great parents learn to savor every moment with their kids, and they use mistakes as teachable moments rather than excuses to fly off the handle.

Dad, I appreciate your sense of humor. Dry as they may be, your jokes always have me in stitches. I appreciate how you find humor in the little things in life, the collection of Joke-a-Day calendar pages you share with me when I come home, and the way in which funny sayings from the past always seem to resurface with new life when you're around. You even know how to laugh at yourself - and that skill, I've learned, can get a person through most anything.

Dad, I appreciate our car rides. I can't count the number of hours we've spent together in a car, but they are hours I treasure. I'll never forget the awkward 45-minute ride to my summer job when you played me a recorded abstinence-before-marriage sermon (to which I wish I'd paid more attention at the time) or the talks we've had as you've gone out of your way to pick me up from college or from the airport. I never have to worry that we'll run out of things to talk about - mostly because you're truly interested in everything that has to do with my life.

Dad, I appreciate your faith. You've had some pretty tough things happen to you in your 60 years, but you've never lost your faith in God. In fact, it seems to have only grown deeper. I appreciate that you set an example for me of how to love my faith and to respect it enough to practice it diligently even when it is inconvenient. I am grateful that you helped me memorize my prayers and knelt by my bed every night to talk to God with me. You planted seeds that probably seemed as though they'd never grow when I was young but that have borne great fruit as I've gotten older.

Dad, I appreciate your generosity. You've always given so freely of your time and treasure to me. You put your day on hold to pick me up when I got a flat tire. You spent hours playing with me in the pool or practicing my softball pitch. You offered to pay for the expenses that I just couldn't quite afford at the time. If I haven't said it enough, thank you for all you've given me and continue to give me - even now, when it's no longer your responsibility but your joy.

Dad, I appreciate your love. Your love for your kids is so clear - from the way you sport our college t-shirts when we're around, to the way your eyes sparkle when you see us succeed, to the distances you've traveled just to spend time with us. You've experienced so much of our lives behind a video camera, and I always thought it was so that we could watch ourselves perform later, but I think moreover, you want a way to "show off" the kids you're so proud of. You're our biggest fan, Dad, and you know what? We are yours.

Happy Father's Day to a man who's been a rock, a hero, a role model, and a friend to me since the day I wrapped my tiny hand around your big finger. I am so grateful to have you, Dad, and I hope I can be even half the parent to my daughter that you've been to me.

More from this mom:

Why My Mom Still Matters

Practically Free Father's Day Gifts Based on His Love Language

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