A Letter to My Dad

11 Jun

Dear Daddy,

I still call you Daddy or Papa’ (accent on the last a) even though I’m 28 and probably should have stopped a long time ago.  I’m sorry I just can’t think about you any other way. 

You are my dad.  You taught me to ride a bike, you told me stories and read me books.  I first saw ‘Wizard of Oz’ and ‘Ghostbusters’ while sitting on your lap.  Two pivital movies  in cinematic history if I do say so myself.  You and I read ‘The Black Cauldron’ – or rather, you read the entire series to me in between deployments. 

I have always wanted to be like you. I respect you and your character.  I based my majors in college after you (you were government and history, I was history and modern foreign languages).  I have all the postcards that you sent and all the dolls that you sent and all the rugby t-shirts that you gave me based on all your deployments.  I graduated college the year you retired.  We both moved to DC.  You worked for one Defense Contractor, I worked for another. We would meet and have dinner at the little hole-in-the-wall Italian place.  We’d go to football games and baseball games.  My yelling of my opinions (namely that Redskins/yankees suck!) nearly got us killed…more than once.  I think you were proud of my conviction.  You laughed when I screwed up my sports rules (yelling 3-seconds at  a hockey game was probably not my brightest move). 

Do you know I still have the ticket stub from when you and I went to go see the Orioles/Yankees game?  Because that was the first time you took me and not my brother to a game. 

I have the stub of the Phillies/Nationals game Mike and I took you to for your birthday two years ago.  You looked like you had the time of your life. 

We’ve gone to see sporting events – you came down to cheer on the JMU Duuuuuukes! and George Mason Men’s Basketball team.  We’ve watched the Eagles in the heat and in the cold. 

You coached my soccer teams, my t-ball team.  You stood at the sidelines during my soccer matches, you encouraged me to be the best goal keeper / midfielder / whatever position I played.  You’d get me to lighten up and relax while I was playing. 

You encouraged me when I was applying for college.  You would come and visit me when you were on trips to DC.  You’d drive the two hours west just to see me and take me to lunch.  You’ve moved me into various apartments and never really complained (other than the fact that I usually insist on living on the 3rd floor and I typically move during the summer – and on the hotest day of the summer). 

You gave me away at my wedding.  Danced with me at the reception. 

Dad and I getting ready to walk up the aisle

Dad and I getting ready to walk up the aisle

 

Dad and I dancing

Dad and I dancing

Dad at the reception

 Dad and his twin (Uncle Fred) at my reception

 You listened when a told you that my marriage was failing. You supported me unconditionally. You loved without question.

And now you’re sick.  You’re having surgery on Monday.  And I’m scared for you.  I cannot imagine without you in my life.  I want you to meet your grandchildren.  I want you to teach them to cheer for the Eagles and to do the chant. 

So, Daddy, you are an amazing, caring, compassionate, brilliant man.  I am lucky to have you as my father.  I respect you.  I love you. 

So you have to fight this cancer.  You have to get better.  You are my daddy. 

I love you.

~Mary Theresa

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