Day #5 – 30 Days of Thankfulness

Today I am thankful for my dad.  He is a strong man and a hard worker and I have learned many valuable lessons from him.  As a child, I always thought he was strict and very demanding.  As an adult, I can look back and see why he did the things that he did and the difference that it has made in my life.

My parents were divorced when I was four so I don’t have many memories of living with them together as a couple.  After the divorce, my brother and I lived with our mother and spent every other weekend with our dad.  I always looked forward to my weekends with dad and we usually had a lot of fun.  I can remember him taking us to see all the “big” movies during those days.  E.T., all the Star Wars films, Superman (the original one!), Indiana Jones and so on.  We always got to get whatever candy and popcorn we wanted as well; big things for little kids!  He also had an extensive video library at home and my brother and I could watch our favorites any time we wanted!  He took us to the Texas State fair, Six Flags, the circus and many Ranger and Maverick games too.

When I was 12, I went to live with my dad and step-mom permanently.  Though I missed my mom and my brother, it was actually a very good situation for me.  I got to attend school with the same kids for 6 years!  This was important to me because I had moved so many times in the past.  Dad was very supportive of the activities that I wanted to pursue.  I did tap and jazz dancing for a few years, joined the swim team and eventually landed playing the clarinet in band.  When I got into high school, I joined the marching band’s Color Guard and he was supportive of that as well.  In fact, he came to many of the football games to see us perform and he drove to all the competitions…including one trip where he had a minor fender-bender!

Being a teenager was a tough time as many, I am sure, can agree with me.  I always felt like my dad was the strictest dad of all my friends and I was often mad at him because of it.  But, now I realize that he was protecting me.  We think when we are teenagers that we know it all, but it is just not true.  We don’t have all the knowledge and experiences of our parents.  Because of his rules, I was a straight A student, I never got into drugs or alcohol and didn’t end up being a pregnant teenager.  He kept me on the straight and narrow and for that I am very appreciative.  He also taught me the value of hard work and showed me that nothing comes without discipline and perseverance.  He taught me to always pay my debts first and though I have struggled financially from time to time as an adult, I always remember his advice.

I am also thankful for my step-mom, Jenny.  During those years that I lived with her and my dad, she taught me a lot.  She taught me how to wear make-up and style my hair so that it was flattering to me.  She helped me learn how to buy my clothes, not by the number of the size, but by how they make my body look.  A larger size always looks better than trying to cram into a size too small!  She helped me shop for Homecoming Dances and Proms and even made one of my Homecoming dresses.  That one that she and my grandmother made was my favorite!  Jenny was just as strict as dad was and was not afraid to call my friends’ parents when we were caught in trouble!  But, I would rather have had them looking out for me than wishing I had parents who cared more about me because they were never involved.

I moved out of their house when I was 18 and “tried” to go to college.  I say tried because I started three different colleges during that time and never earned one credit!  But, I digress…Because we have lived apart for about 20 years now, I haven’t been able to be as close to them as I would have liked.  We have spent Christmas’s, weddings and birthdays together, but they have been few and far between.  Because my dad is an excellent planner and saver, he and Jenny were just recently able to retire!  This week they moved to Florida, so now they are only about 3-4 hours drive away.  I am hoping that because they are closer, we will be able to spend more time together and my boys can get to know them better.

I will always be grateful for the lessons and values that I learned from my father and I am proud to call him “Dad.”  Though we haven’t always seen eye-to-eye on everything, I still have great respect for him.  I will love you always, Dad!

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