If there's one thing I want to say to you this Father's Day, it's thank you.
Thank you for being over the moon when Mom told you she was pregnant with me just a few weeks after you got married.
Thank you for putting me and Mom first from day one. You worked from dawn until dusk to support us. What I remember is you being there to play with me or take me out for ice cream. Yes, you tried to steal licks every time, but I still loved those evening trips to Baskin-Robbins, even when my brother came along and it was no longer just you and me.
Thank you for attending every school play and concert, even if you had to arrive late. I always knew you were there, beaming with pride, wearing your tie and jacket, probably exhausted and hungry. You still had the biggest smile in the room.
Thank you for driving five hours to have dinner with me one lonely night in college, and then turning around to drive five hours back. You heard in my voice on the phone that I needed you, and that was all it took for you to get in the car and go.
Thank you for teaching me how to be a grown-up: how to ask for a raise at work, how to stand up for myself when landlords and bosses tried to take advantage of my gender or inexperience. You somehow taught me to be tough and kind at the same time when dealing with difficult people.
Thank you for loving my future husband from day one and making him feel not only welcome in our family, but like another son to you.
Thank you for walking me down the aisle on my wedding day after helping to calm my nerves about all those people looking at me. Watching the wedding video, you'd never know I thought I was going to get sick before the curtain opened and it was showtime!
Thank you for loving my children as much as I do and swearing their lives are more valuable than your own.
Thank you for coming from seven hours away to help me unpack my new house because you didn't want your pregnant daughter lifting even one box.
Thank you for still, after all these years, being there when I need you and putting me and my family before your own needs. You are a dad through and through, and I know that will never change, no matter how many years pass, how far the distance is between us, or what ups and downs we may endure. You have set the bar high for being a great example of how to be a father.
Happy Father's Day, Dad. I love you.