Writing this article is the least I could do for someone as important and influential in my life as you are, Dad.
The world deserves to know how you are my hero, my coach, my teacher, my best friend, my biggest fan and, most importantly, my father.
It is crazy to think 9/11 devastated our country only 14 years ago.
As soon as Mom said the planes crashed into two buildings down the street from where you worked, I instantly panicked.
We hadn’t heard from you or anything about your whereabouts. For the next couple of days, I thought Mom was just hiding the bad news from us: You weren’t ever coming home.
But, a blessing was granted to our family. You returned after a few days on no sleep and had a strong scent of smoke about you, and I had never been more excited to wrap my arms around you.
You were one of the lucky ones to survive 9/11, and you rescued others from the remains of the fallen buildings.
You were no longer just my hero, but you were a hero for others, too.
Sports have always been an integral part of my life. I was fortunate enough to have you as my coach for whatever sport I wanted to play.
You expected as much from me as you did my teammates, and you never put pressure or expectations on me to be a better player.
Instead, you instructed me and encouraged me to be one. You reminded me of the fundamentals, which helped me to improve my swing.
You always took the time, no matter how exhausted you were from a long day of work, to throw the ball around with me in the backyard.
As much as I went and still go to Mom for her wonderful advice, it is your little, simple pieces of wisdom that are all I’m really looking for.
Through your example and your words, you have taught me more than you realize.
You taught me humility and sensitivity. Boasting about your accomplishments has never been part of your conversations.
You taught me how hard work pays off. You and Mom have worked to support me financially and emotionally through every opportunity that has come my way, and I cannot thank you enough for it.
You taught me how to love. The love you and Mom share has shown me how to work as a team, despite any differences I may have with my teammates.
You taught me how to make sacrifices for the ones you love. One day, I will make these same selfless decisions for my own children.
You taught me what I deserve and that how I should never settle for anything less than that.
My Best Friend
Wings, beer and baseball: There's no better person to share those three things with than you, Dad!
My Biggest Fan
When I wanted to be a singer, you encouraged me to sing. When I wanted to be a writer, you encouraged me to write.
When I played volleyball, you showed up at every game, home and away.
You have been proud of me every step of the way, and I can only hope to keep making you proud as our lives continue.
In a generation like mine, I am well aware not everyone is blessed with the love and trust of a father.
Some young women lose their fathers to alcohol, anger, jealousy and sometimes even death.
But, I am truly one of the lucky ones. You have shaped me into the determined, strong and wise woman I am today.
To some, you may just be an ordinary man. But to me, you are everything. I love you, Dad.