Feeling Thankful


One of my best friends in this life is my dad. He's always been able to see me in a way that I've wanted to be seen.  He's always been able to guide me through things in a thoughtful and respectful way. I can count the number of times that he's been upset with me on one hand (and not even all the fingers are being used) and the way that I knew he was angry with me was that he got really, really, quiet...looked into my eyes and demanded my respect (and got it).  It is he that has taught me what respect should look and sound like. I know that there is some of the way that I parent Zoey found in the way that I was parented by my father.  He is a creative soul and I know that I have him to thank for, for that being such a huge part of my life as well...I've always found it important (and worthy) to carve out time to allow myself to be creative. It's something that I've had to learn along the way to make a stand for, to say no to other things in life to allow myself to have the time to write, take pictures, build fairy houses with my daughter, art journal, bake or scrapbook, etc. It's something that I'm thankful to have the ability to do as an adult. It's something that I hope to allow room for in Zoey's life as well.

This Thanksgiving was a special one since my dad was with us here at our home.  We usually go to my mom's (and while we missed visiting with her and my step-dad and siblings) it was really nice to be able to give all my attention to my dad and to have him around exploring my stomping grounds and to be able to show him around and about here.  He's battling Parkinson's Disease and I will be honest, it hurts to see him struggle and fight with his own body to manage daily, every day tasks.  It makes me so makes me hurt and wonder why and question God and it makes me feel weak and powerless.  It also makes me want to step up and be the daughter that he raised me to be.  To support him in any way that I can.  To love him with all that I have.  And to be thankful for all that he has afforded me in my upbringing.

Thank you Dad.

Thank you for not getting me that Nintendo Gaming system when it was "the thing" to have back in the day and getting me the microscope set instead.  Thank you for standing up for me when I had a boyfriend that treated me like dirt (and for getting me away from him), thank you for listening when I was mad at mom and not judging (and for suggesting I write her a letter knowing that I was far better at writing my feelings than verbally expressing them),  thank you for showing me the importance of being with oneself and with nature.  Thank you for valuing the arts in every possible way and allowing me to do the same. Thank you for letting me draw and paint on the walls and the floors (and inside cabinets). My friends thought that was so cool. Thank you for recognizing how hard I try at life. Thank you for making up and sharing all the Creepy Mouse stories that you have. Thank you for giving me quiet perspective when I vent to you.  Thank you for the mums at my wedding.  Thank you for seeing all the sides to Ethan and being accepting of him as my husband and co-parent and for sharing some of your life wisdom with him. Thank you for letting me be stubborn and difficult when it is the only way that I can manage to be...and for forgiving me all the same.  Thank you for listening to me when I worry...and for being open to me and my ideas.  Thank you for being around when I need to know how to use a certain tool or want to hang shelves or change (or patch) a tire.  Thanks for letting me know that I CAN do things like patch my own muffler when just 20 years old. Thanks for always letting me talk about me and what's going on and always being excited and supportive. Thanks for worrying about me.  Thanks for being there when I was hung up on that guy that I thought was "the one" for over a year and when I went on and on and on about him...for never once making me feel silly. Thanks for making it a point to embarrass me in my high school years in front of my peers.  Thank you for busting a party that I was at and being one of those parents that cared enough to not be cool...but really ended up being cool in the long run. Thank you for not throwing money at me all the time so that I learned how to make it on my own and what it means to really need things versus want things...and therefore what being free really means. Thank you for giving me space to be me. To learn my own lessons (sometimes the hard way), to fight my own battles (the ones that wouldn't leave too big of scars), and to love with all my heart and soul. Thanks for taking me in when I had nowhere else to go and leaving me alone with my hurt when that is what I needed. Thanks for buying me a bicycle as an adult. Thanks for sitting at the kitchen table with me when I was in school and putting up with my anger and tears while tackling my math homework into the wee hours of the night. Thanks for always having ice cream in the freezer. Thank you for always feeling bad about the people that are on Funniest Home Videos (the ones that get hurt) and loving me even though I always lose it laughing. Thanks for letting me know that I could like Janice Joplin, Sinaed O'Conner, Joni Mitchell, Priscilla Ahn, Ingrid Michaelson, The Weepies, Death Cab for Cutie, Johnny Cash, Rufus Wainwright, Kenny Chesney and Willie Nelson all at the same time. Thank you for always going out and finding the dog when he ran off and bringing him back home safe and sound. Thanks for letting me and my girlfriends sleep out on the sailboat in the marina when they stayed over.  Thanks for loving Dan and Jo and all my other special friends. Thanks for blaming the dog for the cigarette butt that you found one day in the toilet (apparently I didn't get it flushed down before you and mom got home that one time). Thankful I didn't end up being a lifetime smoker. Thanks for letting me ride with you on the Harley to the Nelson Cheese Factory to get ice cream cones and for putting up with my pre-teen angst when I was furious at you that we had to walk it into town after it broke down on the way home. Thank you for making my girlfriends waffles in the morning for breakfast every time I had a sleepover.

Thank you for being and continuing to be my guide. I will always look at you with awe, admiration and love and I am thankful that I have you in my life.

This past Thanksgiving break was so special. I thank Ethan for giving the gift of transportation to my father (and me) and for never once complaining about his aching back from traveling 10 hours in the car all in one day...twice. Thank you to my dad for being open to sleeping on the bottom bunk of Zoey's bunk bed with all her dolls and stuffed animals looking on...and perhaps some dog hair here and there.  For putting up with our schedule and being flexible when I know it's hard with all that you're dealing with (you could have taken a nap dad!!!!).  :)

I am so thankful that we got to show you the school where I work, the beaches that we like to go to, our favorite stomping grounds and trails, our home and yard. I'm thankful we got to put up the tree together and you got to see all of our special and random ornaments that we've collected over the years. I'm thankful that you got to see more of the real Zoey...the one that get's cranky and tired and yet still remains to be the special little girl that she is.  The girl that we've discovered is really good at playing the game Mad Gab (YES!!!!). I'm thankful that I made another Thanksgiving dinner for you (the first one was made when I was 19 and I baked the turkey complete with the plastic bag of innards inside). And yes, I'm even thankful that you got me to take you shopping (on Black Friday nonetheless!!!!) for a fleece lined vest only to come home without one and to resume our shopping online (I won't mention how many hours we spent online shopping) and finally being victorious in our endeavors (thank you!). I'm thankful for being able to share a little bit of my normal with you.

I'm thankful for it all.  Every...single...minute.

For all of the excitement and most of all, for all of the normal.

More than anything dad, I want you to know that I love you with all my being. And I thank you from the bottom of my heart...for it all. For my life. For my heart. For my shot here in this world.  

I love you.  

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TOBEY said...

what a beautiful tribute to your father Jen...... there is something so special about the bonds between girls and their daddies....I miss mine every day....enjoy every day and every minute with him, it is very hard when we see our dads struggle with illness......hard not to be angry and frustrated and feel it is so unfair with what they have to endure. Hugs......Tobey

Sarah said...

I'm way late on this post, but I'm sitting here all choked up with tears in my eyes. A girl having a wonderful dad is one of life's biggest and rarest blessings I think. What a beautiful tribute to your dad. I'm glad y'all had a good time being together.