Fast forward 20 years (okay, 30 something, but who's counting???) and my love and admiration for him has only deepened. I don't think we fully understand the sacrifices that comes with parenting, when done right, until we have children of our own. As I have reflected over the years on how young my dad was and how strong he stayed during the toughest of times, all at the same time protecting us and loving us, his hero status has jumped for me. He was not perfect. None of us are. But he was loving, strong and was always there.
I owe my Dad so much. He not only loved us unconditionally, but taught me so much along the way.
- Music is good for the soul. Nothing beat the old folk style story telling music of JT (no, not Justin Timberlake) and Harry Chapin.
- Hillbilly mechanics will serve you well in life. Yes, I have repaired countless things with items on hand. Not as technical as McGyver, but pretty darn close!
- Family Vacations do not have to be elaborate. My fondest memories weren't held on exotic beaches or on foreign soil, but on the Mohican River camping, fishing and floating.
- Wealth can be measured in many ways. Being rich in love and family far outweighs being rich in dollars and cents. Without love and family it is pointless.
- Laugh at yourself. He made sure we were able to do this, often by poking fun at us. I was such an emotional little girl and I have him to thank for my ability to find humor in every day situations and in my own shortcomings.
- Family is always there for each other through good and bad. Friends will come and go, but family is forever. Nourish those relationships and enjoy them, they won't be there forever.
These are just a few of the lessons my hero taught me. He wasn't superman. He wasn't invincible. But he was, and is, one of my biggest fans and someone who has had perhaps the greatest influence in my life. I thank God often for the family I was born into. I can't imagine anyone else raising me and anyone else that I would want to call my Dad, my friend, my hero.