In a few months, I will turn 20. Somedays it seems like 20 years has been an eternity, but to you, those 20 years probably flew by. In a few weeks, you will have a birthday. I know you say that it’s not a big deal, but to me it is. Because I have begun to realize that as I get older, so do you. And because you are the only stable parent I have ever had, I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you.
You have always been the best example of what I want to be someday. Kind, patient, independent, and hard-working. You value your time and you do everything to the best of your ability, even when you don’t necessarily want to. Your persistence has always amazed me. You set the standards I have for myself, very high. By teaching me these things, you taught me the kind of person I should strive to become. You taught me values and morals, things I won’t soon forget.
Life hasn’t always been easy. For a long time, you basically raised me on your own. I know it was difficult, and sometimes it still is, but you do it anyway. You have never made me feel bad for all the things that have happened, even when other people were blaming me. You taught me that I am worth something. I have dreams and goals and you help me pursue them. Without you, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
You have very carefully guided me through these almost 20 years. You showed me that my weakness can become my strength, my goal can become my passion, and that nothing is worth it if you’re not willing to fight for it. You were the absolute best role model a girl could ask for. I could have asked for a better mom, and with time I finally got one. But I never asked for a better dad because I already had a pretty great one. And I still do.
College has been difficult. Between transferring schools, changing my major (countless times), and being so far from home sometimes I get down on myself. But you understand me and support me no matter what. Okay maybe you don’t always understand my decisions, but you support them because you know that this is my life and this is what I want. You have never tried to push me in any one direction.
You may have been my only parent sometimes, but you took on both roles. You did the things a dad should do, while also doing things a mom would do. And this meant that you weren’t always the “good guy”. I didn’t always get what I wanted and when I didn’t get it from you I didn’t have another parent to ask. But it taught me that you can’t have everything in life. You did the best you could, but I’m sure there are times when you could have used some help. And in the end, we all struggled a little bit, but we came out stronger in the end.
Thank you, most importantly, for always making me a priority. There are times you could have given up, but you didn’t. There are times when I wanted to give up, but you wouldn’t let me. Through all the suffering and all the mistakes, you were always there to see me through. You are the one that was forced to take me shopping and make sure I had everything I needed. When I was younger you are the one that got me ready for school. You always made sure I was fed and taken care of. Without you, I probably wouldn’t have survived. So thank you for sticking around even when it would have made sense if you didn’t.
Having you as a dad has always been a blessing. Sometimes I get so caught up in the fact that I didn’t have the best mom growing up, that I forget I had the best dad. So thank you for stepping up and giving me the best life you could. I genuinely appreciate all that you do. You embody everything I hope to be someday. Thank you for your guidance and support. I can’t wait to share the next 20 years with you. Happy (early) birthday.