This is my dad at the beach a few weeks ago. And honestly, this photo is everything that my dad is!
The straw hat on his head will tell you he is Texan to the core, raised to love the land God created and to care for the animals that He put on it. I've seen my dad in this straw hat, in his black felt hat and in a variety of baseball caps all my life. I will never think of him that I don't see him in my mind with a hat on because that is who my dad is. In a house full of girls growing up we might not have always taken his fashion advice. Well, OK...basically we didn't at all but he still gave it and I loved him for it. In my phase of red lipstick, big permy hair or shoes he couldn't stand Dad always wore his own style with confidence - a hat in the appropriate season for the appropriate occasion and never at the table!
The red shirt will tell you he loves this country with all that he is. American through and through, dad spent time in the navy and then raised us to be proud of where we grew up and of the freedoms we enjoy. From local politics to presidential elections, dad knows what is going on and has an opinion. He probably doesn't know that I can remember how he would come home from work, watch the news and be willing to discuss with us anything going on in the world while we ate dinner. He kept me interested, informed and curious about the world around me.
The fun print he is wearing will tell you that at heart, he loves to laugh. I have heard that laugh forever - as we had friends over and talked about boys, as Brian and him formed a bond as deep as any father/son and as our children talk to him on the phone or Skype. My grandfather had that laugh, a smile that lit up his eyes and dad has that, too. I love when dad tries to tell a story and gets to laughing as he tells it. I love when I hear Koby telling the story and dad laughing at him. The laugh means he is listening, he is caring, he is creating one more memory.
Standing on the beach, dad is strong. The conqueror of my bad dreams, the pat on the back when my heart was broken as a teenager, the one who said "her mother and I", the hands that held my children at the hospital all came by way of that strength that I've always imagined he possesses.
Yep, this is the dad God placed me with- to raise me to love Him, love others and love this country. So Happy Father's Day daddy! Thank you for your love, strength, laugh and endless fashion advice. This only scratches the surface of who you are to me and who I am because of you.