I can't say enough about what amazing man my dad is.
I've talked a lot about my mom's battle with ALS, but don't often mention my dad, and he definitely deserves mentioning. If you ever wanted to know what selflessness and love look like, you need look no further than my dad. My parents were high school sweethearts and I often think about what it would be like to be told in your mid 40's that you would most likely never grow old together, never get to enjoy your grandchildren together, or share in your children's accomplishments and the pride of knowing you did a pretty good job as parents. Basically, that everything you hoped and dreamed for your future together was no longer going to be a possibility. My dad has faced some major trials in his life, even from the time he was young, and he has never been one to dwell on the negative. He's a firm believer that our life is what we choose to make it and has always taught his children the same. It's okay to be sad, but our sadness does not need to define us. So despite a bleak diagnosis for my mom, and having to go through things with my mom's illness that no married couple should ever have to experience, he was courageous, strong, and most of all loving. So loving. Words cannot express the love I saw my dad give to my mom, and despite becoming her primary caretaker, which in itself was a 24/7 job, he ran a household, cooked, cleaned, took us to extra-curricular activities--all of those "mom" things, and still had to work his very demanding, paying job. This is not to say my dad didn't do the "mom" things before she got sick, I don't ever remember a time when he wasn't helping with the laundry, cleaning, etc., but after my mom got sick it all fell to him. He worked tirelessly to make sure his family was loved and cared for and he always made time for us, no matter what. We all found the humor when he learned to curl my mom's hair, would take dinner to neighbors because my mom couldn't stand not being able to give service, so she'd volunteer us, made handouts for her church group, and lots of other not-so-guy things. He affectionately earned the nickname "Martha Villa" (Martha Stewart & Bob Villa) which has stuck years later--and he's darn PROUD of that nickname! I know my mom was so proud of him too and proud to call him hers. I never saw them treat each other with anything but the utmost respect and he cherished her and his actions showed it. And nothing but the utmost respect for my mom, from their children, would be tolerated. My dad is the hardest working person I know and sacrificed a lot for his family often traveling a lot and working long hours only to come home to more work that needed to be done. And despite the hard work and being successful, he's never been a guy who's wanted for much materially. His family around him and happy and having just what he needs has always been enough.
So his kids should be angels, right? Not this stubborn, opinionated one. On top of everything he was going through I gave him some serious hell during my middle and high school years (he's really looking forward to my kids paying me back on that one) and he loved me unconditionally through all of the wanting to strangle me. My husband had a lot to live up to and I'm happy to report he does and then some!
So, all of that said, my dad gets a really good laugh when I call and give him those validating moments. You know, the you-were-right moments. And I'll tell you, he was right about A LOT! In fact, I think I must have been really good at driving him crazy because there are still things I talked him into that I'm shocked I convinced him on. So for Father's Day I typed up all of those priceless lessons he taught me and framed them so he could have those validating moments whenever he felt like he needed one. I have to say, he loved it! (My family celebrated Father's Day a little early). The small type you see next to the last word is just a personal little note from me.
Paired with one of his new favorite pictures of my daughter and wrapped simply with some twine and a clothespin.
My dad is now just as amazing a grandfather as he is a father. Nothing lights him up like being with his grandkids and they LOVE their grandpa.
One of the grandkids is missing here.
Here's to truly, the greatest dad in the world. You rock!