June 15, 2008

I may look more like my mother, but I am more like my father in my mannerisms. Though I did inherit his almond-shaped eyes, I also inherited his sensitivity, creativity, over-active brain, and his nerdiness. He and I can both take the grinding pain of surgery with stride and with grace, but neither us are able to shake the perhaps-unintended slight.

This is a man who spent the first five years of his life living in a post-war-torn Germany with his mother. This is a man who spent the next five years after that living in an orphanage in Pennsylvania while his mother worked at a nursing home in the hopes of a better life. This is a man who survived a difficult family situation and left home at 17 to work 40 jobs by the time he was 30. This is a man who was drafted to serve his adopted country in the Vietnam war.

This is a man who wanted better for his two children than he had for himself, and worked hard to be slow to anger but quick to teach. This is a man who loves to create with his hands. This is a man who loves nothing more than to walk out in the country with the sun on his face and the wind at his back.

This is a man I almost lost to cancer in 2006. This is a man who bravely went to chemotherapy for six weeks, and never openly complained, even as he lost weight and his hair. This is a man who will have been in remission for two years in October. This is a man for whom I will always walk for to raise awareness for the disease.

This is a man who took me to three years of father/daughter dances at Beaumont. This is a man who helped me work on grade-school science projects (usually at the zero-hour); helped me work on art projects in college; taught me how to use a table-saw, a bandsaw, a belt-sander, a drill, taught me how to plumb, how to do electrical wiring, how to lay laminate flooring, and hang tile. This is a man that I will dance with at my wedding.

And though it hasn’t always been easy to live with him, and have had some pretty terrible fights, I will always be proud of him, and I will always know how lucky I am to have him.

This man is my father.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I love you.