If you have an amazing dad like mine, you realize how incredibly fortunate you are.
He’s always there for me, always has been.
Dad changed my diapers and read me bedtime stories.
He taught me how to fly my first kite at the shore.
Dad wiped my tears and gave me butterfly kisses, having the best knack to make everything better.
Dad taught me how to ride my bike and that a scrape on the knee was not the end of the world… just experience.
He played endless amounts of Ultimate Frisbee games with my friends and I (even after a long day at work) just because he really wanted to.
He gave me my very first corsage and took me to the Father/Daughter dance. I was the proudest girl around standing on my tiptoes, dancing the night away on his feet.
Dad was there with toolbox in hand when I moved into my first apartment and helped paint my room.
He gave every guy that walked in the door the hairy eyeball, which said, “If you mess with my baby girl, next time we meet, it won’t be so pretty.”
Along with mom, dad is the first person I fell completely in love with the second I was born.
Dad has taught me many things.
But most of all, these are the things dad taught me that will make me forever be daddy’s little girl:
1. To always speak up and stand up for who you are and what you believe in… even when you may need a step stool.
Dad raised me to be unique and pursue my own dreams.
Thanks to him, I have always embraced my own path, not walking down the one most traveled.
2. The meaning of respect, both giving and receiving.
My dad was born and raised to treat everyone with respect, and he brought me up no differently.
Dad taught me you can tell a lot about a person’s character based on how he or she respects his or her loved ones and elders.
3. How to get that nasty science project to work back in seventh grade.
Dad was there every step of the way, helping me make the coolest dry ice tornado for my science fair because it meant the world to him to see me succeed… even if it was only seventh grade.
4. To work hard for the things you want.
“When it’s not working, work harder,” he always said.
Even though I wanted to roll my eyes when something wouldn’t work out as planned, dad’s motivation encouraged me to work my hardest. It always pays off.
When the game doesn’t pan out perfectly, dad is there by my side to pick up the cards again and try out a better hand.
5. The importance of saving money and the value of a 401K.
Sometimes we want what we want, exactly when we want it.
We’re the generation that yearns for instant results, but dad instilled patience.
My dad taught me the meaning and value of the phrase “save your money,” because that’s what his dad taught him.
6. That he is one of your biggest supporters.
A great dad is all about you, whether he’s coaching your soccer game or cheering on the sidelines in the rain.
My dad sat through 16 dance recitals from “Tiny Tutus” through junior year with a smile on his face and a bouquet of flowers to greet me.
He pushed through the crowd with camera in hand to get to just where I would walk down the aisle at my college graduation ceremony.
7. How to understand your algebra homework.
8. How to dance.
Obviously, dad’s utter coolness now shows he was also pretty rad back in the day.
He knows a thing or two about working the dance floor… and he didn’t even need twerking to do it.
9. All about “good” rock and roll.
My dad certainly did not fail to get me hooked on the classics since I was young.
We listen to our favorite “Breakfast With The Beatles” radio show on Sundays with pancakes, and classic rock is always streaming through the house.
10. How to get through honors geometry.
Those cringe-worthy geometry problems that seemed impossible to solve… dad was always there to lend a helping hand.
My dad’s motto has always been, “Should the need arise, kick ‘em in the balls.”
12. The beauty of a classic car.
My dad is the ultimate gear head. Needless to say, his passion rubbed off on me.
He taught me how to wash and wax my car (no car wash allowed).
Classic car shows are the norm in the summer for “daddy and me” dates (with ice cream, of course).
13. To appreciate your heritage.
Dad taught me everything about my roots.
When I studied abroad in Florence, Italy, the homemade pasta, limoncello and carefree lifestyle truly hit home.
Dad came to visit of course, and his smile was priceless.
14. To never take anything (or anyone) for granted.
Dad has lived through it all.
He experienced love and loss and passes down words of wisdom to me: “Life is way too short to stress over sweating the small stuff.”
15. Don’t judge a book by its cover, but don’t feel bad walking away from it after you finish either.
He taught me early on not to be impressed by people trying to impress.
When someone’s good on the inside it doesn’t take much work to see it.
16. Never have expectations, and you won’t be disappointed.
Dad has always told me to never go into any relationship or situation with expectations; it will limit your disappointment.
17. Life is really what you want it to be.
My dad has encouraged me to set my dreams, and work hard to make them come true.
The people who you choose to live in your daily circle have a major impact of you reaching those goals and dreams. Choose them wisely.
In the words of dad, “Surround yourself with things and people you love, and have no regrets.”
18. What a gentleman should be like and how a lady should expect to be treated.
19. It is evident dad loves you, even when he may not agree with you.
My dad likes that I think for myself with drive and determination.
20. You are never, ever too old to call him “Daddy.”
When it comes down to it, I love my dad for everything he’s taught me… and so much more.
At every age and every stage, I will always and forever be daddy’s little girl.