I made the decision to change my focus a few days ago. I also decided to continue a tradition that I started the first year after his death. My dad used to surprise my family with chocolate long john doughnuts from Daylight Donuts. In honor of that kind gesture, I made a trip to Grace Hill Cemetery this morning. I sat on the south side of my dad's headstone and enjoyed the sweet, chocolatey goodness of a long john, washing it down with a carton of milk. I laid my head back against the smooth, cold granite and closed my eyes. The brisk fall breeze chilled me, but I couldn't bring myself to leave. I was flooded with gratitude for this man. The man who taught me to stand up for myself as young woman. The man who gave me the confidence to be myself.....to think for myself....to not be afraid to live my life "against the societal grain". He taught me to be strong, yet respectful. He taught me to work hard and to not make excuses.
I think my dad would be extremely proud of me for the way I am living my life. My father instilled in me a strong work ethic. He was the first person in his family to obtain a Masters Degree and proved many people wrong with a successful career in OSU Cooperative Extension. He hitchhiked from Nardin, Oklahoma to Stillwater to complete his bachelor's degree....definitely working against the odds. He taught me to give my best effort in my endeavors....to go beyond the expectations.....to work for what I want.
My dad gave me the nickname "baby bull" when I was about 4 years old. I remember him teasing me about being stubborn and I would lower my head and run into him as hard as I could. He would throw his head back and laugh. The gift of a wonderful memory of fun with my dad.
My dad gave me an appreciation for nature.....for the call of the dove....for the antics of the raccoons at the bird feeder....for the earthy smell after a rain...for the glory of a sunrise. I feel his presence in nature.
He gave me and my daughters the gift of love. There was never a doubt about his love. Being a parent is hard. It is possibly the hardest job possible. My father was certainly not perfect, but I have learned from my own journey of parenthood, that he did the best he could. And he always had my best interest at heart.
The gifts of my father are not gifts you can buy. The gifts of my father are priceless, seemingly unending, and definitely ever-lasting. There is so much more that I could write about my dad, but I will end with this......
Miss you Daddy.....love you always....