When I think of my father, there are a lot of things that come to mind.
Sometimes, it's the way we argue and scream and fight.
Sometimes, it's the way we say the cruelest, meanest thing we can think of just to be sure the other person hurts as much as we do.
Sometimes, though, it's how he stayed with me every single night that I was in the ICU.
Sometimes, it's how I can sit with him and have open and honest conversations about sex and physical boundaries.
Sometimes, it's how he'll just come up and hug me, without even knowing how badly I needed it.
And, there are so many other things that come to mind that I couldn't list them all if I tried.
There's one, though, that almost always comes to mind when I think of my father.
The day I will get married, there's one thing I always know will happen. And, that is no matter what happens between us, I know he will always be there to walk me down the aisle. Even if I don't know who I'll marry one day, that is one thing about my future I can count on.
Do you want to know why?
Because I know he was the first man who ever truly loved me. I know with all of my heart that no matter how much we scream and argue and fight, that is one thing I can count on until he dies. He will always love me.
And, here's my little secret:
I'm such a Daddy's girl.
My dad has always supported me and my independence. He's always said my choices are my choices, and even he doesn't agree, he'll support my decision because it's my decision.
We might not see eye-to-eye on politics or other things of the sort, but he's one of my favorite people.
And I know one day, that I'm going to move out and have my own family, or even just move out on my own for the first time. But, I delay that as much as possible because the thought of living somewhere else hurts my heart. If I could, I'd stay with my parents forever. They both mean so much to me and I wouldn't be the woman I am today without them.
I remember, the first and only time I've had my heart broken over a boy, how had my relationship was with my dad.
It was one of the worst periods we've had I think. He'd go into fix-it mode a bit too much for my heart to take. But, that's just who he is. He tries to solve my problems or help me solve them. And, I just... I wish I had more words to describe how much I love my dad.
I wish I had the words to thank him for being one of the most important people in my life. He always encourages me, supports me, and is basically my number one fan. As soon as my novel is published one day, I know he will be the first person in the world to get their hands on a copy. And, he'll never let me live that down when it happens. I'd bet money he'd get it before even I do.
My dad has taught me so much. He's taught me how to be strong, how to love someone, how to be honest and hardworking. How to be intelligent without acting superior, and how to be responsible. He's taught me how to have fun, how to laugh so hard that my face turns red and I can barely breathe. He taught me what it means to know Jesus and how to let Jesus know me.
He's the best dad I could ever ask for. And I know we don't get to choose our parents, but if I could choose mine, he would be the one I picked every time.
My dad is my voice when I can't speak. He's the pair of arms that holds me when I'm panicking. He sees the best in me and helps me see it in myself. He believes in me more than anyone else. Although, I'd say he ties with my mom.
He understands that sometimes I need to do things my own way and I learn my own way, and that's okay.
How do you thank someone for that? Someone who gives up everything for you? Someone who will just sit with you and let you cry when you realized that the boy you loved wasn't who you thought he was?
My dad sits up late, any time that I'm out at night, and waits for me. He won't go to bed until I'm home. And, sometimes, I think he doesn't go to bed until he knows I'm in bed because it makes him feel better that I'm sleeping again.
The first man that really loved me will always be my father. And I can't wait until the day we get to dance together on my wedding day.
I remember when I was in the ICU, seeing my dad when it was dab-smack in the middle of the mess. That was before surgery, I think. And I was so relieved to see him. I was so relieved because I would've got to see him before I died. Because that's what I thought was going to happen. I thought I was going to die, and I was relieved because I got to see my Daddy before I'd go.
And the breakdown I had when I got home. The first time that it really occurred to me what had happened, I cried in the shower. Then, I cried again later and you just came over and hugged me, because all I could say was, "I should be dead. I should be dead."
I could go on and on for hours about how much I love my dad and everything he's done for me.
I know I'm the neediest of the three kids he has, but there has never been a time that I can recall where he has said, "No, not right now, I'm busy." He stops everything for me. And I just. I don't have the words for that.
We're crafty and artsy-fartsy together. We're going to paint a mural, that I'm really excited for, and we already craft together. He's someone I can talk to about my novel and vent about how stupid my characters are, or how I can't get this one particular scene to flow, or how am I supposed to restructure this scene? Or how am I suppose to draw a map of a country that doesn't exist? He helped me make my cosplay, the one with the intensely complicated crystal tail, and it's not the first time he's helped me out.
We're both big readers and movie people, and play video games, and talk about how when Secrets in Ashes is published how I want to be on Ellen and how with all of my epic-cooking fails and epic-baking failures he's never once told me he hated it, or that it was bad. He'd try anything I'd make and then try to hide his grossed out expression and how when I'd get so frustrated that I'd cry he'd tell me it wasn't that bad, and maybe next time try doing it this way instead of that way.
And like today, when you took me for blood-work, Daddy, and it didn't go well, I was so upset and frustrated because this was the one thing I had been waiting months for and the one time I needed my body to work with me, it didn't. You let me rant and ramble and talk about how all I wanted to do was break things because it just felt like life couldn't go my way. And how upset I was when I didn't get the job I wanted, or how I was scammed by some jerks who tried to give me the run-around, or how when I had issues with the girls in my Bible study being mean, you always had the advice to give.
And, how on the day Danielle moved away, I couldn't be at home. So, you took me out and we just drove for a while.
And you're always so proud of me, even when I screw something up. I know I'll always be loved, and I'll always be your little girl. I'll always be your Natalie.
And, I can't wait until one day I have kids who get to have you as an awesome grandpa. I can't wait until I have a husband who will do his best as a father, but he'll never compare to you. I can't wait to see where my life takes me, but only if you're right there with me.
You don't know how much you mean to me. How much everything you've done for me means to me.
I love you so much.
Happy Birthday, Daddy.
Written: May 4th, 2020 at 6:15pm
Current Read: I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Current Watch: None
Current Jam: First Man by Camila Cabello and Ready, Set, Don't Go by Billy Ray Cyrus and Miley Cyrus