Happy Birthday Dad!!

I am sitting here in my office deciding how to tell you about my dad. It seems like I could write a book with how much I have to say about this man. I guess I will just start and see what happens. My dad is one of my heroes. He is a man that has come to mean the epitome of being a father. He has three daughters and loves us all so much. He makes us each feel special mostly because he loves us for our differences. I know that I have a special bond with him because of our running. One of my most favorite things to do is to go running with my dad. I have done that since I was eleven. It is not about the exercise it is about the talking. He asks me how life is going. I tell him my fears, or what I am excited about at the moment. He gets excited for me, then lovingly might tell me things to watch out for. He always manages a way to point out risks without raining on my parade. And let me tell you, with a daughter like me, with all my plans, dreams and schemes, that has been no easy feat. I have had a lot of rain outs and never once has my dad said he thought that it would happen. I have given this man many reasons to shake his head, probably wondering how it is I manage to get through each day in one piece. I remember being so scared when I found out at just turning 23 that I was pregnant. I remember thinking how disappointed he would be in me. Once again, not planning, not making sure I was ready. I wimped out actually. I called my mom on New Year’s Eve and said, “Mom, I’m pregnant, we’re having it, I’m excited, be happy for me, TELL DAD FOR ME!” and hung up the phone. The next morning my dad called. I was never so scared to hear his voice. And I will never forget when he said, “Well I hear I am going to be a grandfather.” in the most loving, supportive, compassionate voice. It was exactly what I needed. I knew everything would be ok. Along the way in the past 10 years I have been trying to find my way as an artist. It has been a hard journey with so many disappointments and hardships. I have had my share of moments when my family has wondered why I don’t get a real job, why I keep freelancing when things were so hard. They both supported me, but I knew deep down they must surely be disappointed in me. Last year on one of our runs when I was visiting, my dad told me that I was one of his heroes. He said he admired the risks I took and how I lived life. He said he knew I had to live my life this way and while he couldn’t do it, he loved watching me live my life. I don’t know if I have ever felt happier in that moment than when he told me that. It meant the world to me. No matter what has gone on in my life, my father has been there for me. He has supported me emotionally, and more often than I care to admit, financially in those early baby years. This is a man that loves his wife and daughters unconditionally. He always has and always will do whatever is best for his family. He is about to retire and he has earned the right to do anything he wants to. And my sisters and mom want him to have anything he wants because it is his turn. So Dad, happy birthday, I love you more than I think I can really ever express. You have shown me what a man and father truly is. I hope you have a wonderful day! Love, Michelle

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