When I was a little girl and couldn't sleep my Dad would come in and tell a story. Really slow, and I would drift off to sleep. He could have said anything. It was his voice that made me feel safe.
When I was only seven years old my Dad switched teaching positions with a teacher in Hawaii so our little family could have the adventure of our lives living in Hawaii for a year.
When I was engaged I found my Dad outside in the flower garden. He gave me a big hug and was so happy for me and this next stage of life I was starting. If I close my eyes I can feel the sunshine and smell the earth on his hands as he worked with the roses.
When we were little kids my brothers and I were entertained for hours in the car listening to stories of how my Dad grew up.
When I got married my Dad was the last person to hug me before I left for my honeymoon. He told us "we were just about the most perfect couple he has ever seen" and that "we would have a lifetime of happiness". I was so homesick on my honeymoon for my parents. I was so in love with Scott, so excited about our new life, but it was just too far and too long to be without my parents. Back then I thought it was terrible to feel those feelings. Now I know I was just blessed with the most amazing childhood a girl could have.
When I 'got the call' for my first teaching position I ran to my Dad to tell him it was official, "I was a third generation teacher". Oh I was so proud.
When I wanted to run my first 26.2 marathon my many multiple time marathon runner Dad helped me train and ran behind me for the last 10 miles. The next year we ran a 26.2 mile marathon together. Holding hands at the finish.
When Scott and I announced that our first baby would be born on the other side of the world and have shiny black hair and almond eyes my Dad hugged me so hard I can still feel the love, the approval, the joy.
In all the big moments, and every single little in between moment I have been and will always be my Daddy's little girl.
In the hospital today it took my breath away to see him being wheeled into his room in the cardiac unit, intensive care. I went to be there for him but he squeezed my hand and was there for me.
How is that? It that the beauty of being a parent? No matter what life holds you are always looking out for your child. When you're the one needing encouragement you protect the feelings of your child. Forever and always.
My Dad will be fine. He's my Dad.
One year ago he cycled from Connecticut to Canada. Two days ago he went for his regular run and lifted weights at the gym.
Just last spring he painted Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit in Abigail's room for me.
He painted Anna's cloud ceiling and her castle to look up at and give her sweet dreams for a lifetime.
I have a beach painting of my daughters above my fireplace and Anna's First Communion portrait in the living room. Santa Claus hangs each Christmas and this happens every year too.
He is magic and he is love. He is strength and he is joy. He is my Dad and he will be just fine.