It took me a long time to realize just how lucky I was to have a man like him in my life, to be my role model, my friend, my father, my care giver, my confidant (even if he does end up telling on me sometimes) among many other things. I thought all Daddy's were like him, I didn't know the world were full of crappy ones (learned that lesson the hard way).
Two weeks ago we celebrated his 70th birthday and the family has been conspiring for a year now on how to pull off a surprise birthday party for him, I don't think any of us believed we would pull it off but we did. He was genuinely surprised. I have to thank our Owens/Burroughs/Ashberry family for all of that. The work they put into ensuring that my Daddy had a wonderful party and ensuring friends and family from all around were there and invited was over and beyond my wildest dreams. I don't think I did much to help.. I showed up in a panic with a cake, the rest of the wonderfulness was taken care of by someone else. To all of you a huge thank you, not only for making his party so wonderful, but for loving him and me enough to do this.
There are so many things I can say about my Daddy but the most wonderful thing I can think of is he has never left me, in moments of happiness, anger, sadness, he has been there. I know if I call, he is going to be on the other end, for 5 minutes or 50.. as long as I need. He has fixed so many things, skinned knees, flat tires, go carts that won't run, failed relationships, in 42 years we have only found one thing he can't fix.. my broken heart. I think that has probably been the hardest on him, not being able to fix it, to fix me. In the bad dark times, he's the only one so far that has been able to talk me off the edge to calm me down, his hugs are some of the most power things I have ever felt in the world, the love they radiate. The words "It's gonna be alright sugah" he says in a way that I feel the truth in them. Maybe that is why the thoughts of going back to Mathews are so strong, even though I know that is not possible right now because I made a promise to Drake that he would finish school here regardless if I had to work 6 jobs. I fight the urge on a daily basis to go running to him, to wake up with flower by my bed, or a cartoon cut out.
I don't think he knows how much I appreciate him, I am not so good at vocalizing those kinds of feelings, but to me, there is no greater man on this planet. Anyone who could put up with me and love my craziness for 42 years deserves more than I am afraid I could give him. So if you see my Daddy, Hound Dog, Uncle Henry.. out and about.. give him a hug, shake his hand.. and tell him that his daughter loves him more than he knows.
Happy Birthday Daddy.. I love you.. thank you for being who you are.
Love to you all