My measuring stick.

fathers-day-quotes-3They say a dad is a little girl’s first love…and the measuring stick against which all other men in her life will be compared. As far as measuring sticks go, any man in my life certainly had a lot to measure up to. I grew up taking for granted a dad who was fun, hard-working, faithful, committed to his family and his faith, kind, level-headed, peaceful, compassionate, and generous. I can close my eyes and hear him singing every last verse of “Amazing Grace” in his soothing baritone voice; I can replay in my mind countless pranks he staged on me or my sister; I can envision the limitless bounds of his giving spirit.

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This is my Mom and Dad celebrating their 25th anniversary in Hawai’i. John and I get to go celebrate our 15th there next month, but we’re going to opt not to go for the matching Hawaiian outfits. 😉

I know. I’m a lucky girl. Every day something reminds me of my Dad – it could be something small and mundane (like remembering his insatiable sweet tooth every time I make cookies or bars) or more grandiose (like remembering their stories of their 25th wedding anniversary trip to Hawai’i as we prepare for our Hawai’i trip to celebrate our 15th anniversary). Every kid deserves a Dad that believes in them, encourages them, builds them up, inspires them to achieve his high expectations. I had that Dad.

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Thing is – when I look at the other ultra-important Dad in my life…the one who is the father to my three amazing kids…I see many of those same qualities. I could write just about the same list of character traits for John as I have for my own Dad. Coincidence? I think not. (You could probably find some similarities in character traits between John’s Mom and me as well, but that’s a totally different topic for another time! 😉 ) My measuring stick for the type of man that makes the best husband and father is a pretty tough one. There aren’t that many men that even come close to measuring up. How is it that I’m blessed enough to not only have grown up with a father who is quite clearly everything a father should be to a daughter…that I’m also blessed to have a husband who is exactly the kind of father that every kid deserves?

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photoIt’s Father’s Day today. A day to remember, honor, and celebrate the dads in our lives. It’s a bittersweet day for me. I get to spend this beautiful day with my kids and their amazing dad. But more than anything I’d like to spend Father’s Day with my Dad too. He’s always in my heart and often in my thoughts. Unfortunately that’s going to have to do.

I’ve always wanted to make my Dad proud. Other than knowing he believed in me and thought I could accomplish anything I set my mind to…he never explicitly pushed me. Most of the “pushing” is entirely self-inflicted. I’m still working to make him proud. His Alzheimer’s Disease was his worst nightmare and I don’t know that I’ll ever completely reconcile the loss of his precious retirement years and the time lost with his grandchildren. My kids will have essentially no memories of this amazing man, but I will tell them stories. Lots of stories.

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This is my Dad on Christmas Day in 2007, our last Christmas with him. These are four (out of ten, at that time) grandkids…Sarah and AJ (my kids) on the outside, and Sam and McKenzie (my brother Keith’s kids) to the right of Grandpa.

To honor him and make his memory more of a legacy, I truly want to make a difference for families coping with…struggling with Alzheimer’s Disease. This is my story and I’m sticking with it. I’ve got a lot of miles in front of me these next four months, and as I put myself through the rigors of marathon training, I want the character traits that my Dad passed on to me to make a difference for others. Please consider helping me on this journey.

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