Do you remember when I was in high school, when I was first diagnosed with anxiety and depression? You spent so much time at that school. Every time I had a panic attack in the nurse’s office, you came and sat there until I stopped crying and could head back to class. I’m actually tearing up writing this because I know dads who barely make an effort in their child’s life in general. You literally left work, at the drop of a dime because you knew that I needed you. For those of you who don’t know, when I was first diagnosed with this, my dad was the only person who could calm me down from an attack. I remember sitting on my bathroom floor bawling my eyes out, refusing to leave the bathroom… but my dad never once gave up on me. He would lie in my bed and talk to me even if I didn’t respond. He would take me out to Chipotle, to get ice cream, to go shopping, even just on a drive. He did whatever it took to get me out of the house. Thank you dad.
It can’t eat you. We run this muh’f&^@r! I remember waking up to notes on the kitchen counter every single morning from mom and you. Telling me that my anxiety couldn’t eat me and that no matter what, I was going to get through this because we are PETERS… and we make it through EVERYTHING. To this day when I text you that I am anxious, you will flood my phone with inspirational text messages as well as funny pictures. How do other people live without a dad like you? I don't understand.
I am so blessed and I really can’t say that enough. You taught me that my family and me feelings mean everything in this world. Possessions and things are useless in the end. You have never been more correct. You raised Shelby and I by giving us love, attention, and comfort. We aren’t rich. We don’t go on crazy amazing vacations. Hell, when I was younger we didn’t really take vacations for the fun of it. We don’t eat family dinners together at the table. I call you ‘Jimmy’ not ‘dad’. We make fun of each other more than anything. So, how did we grow up so closely knit?
We grew up this way because we spent every single weekend together as Shelby and I were growing up. We didn’t take vacations to Hawaii, Florida, or any beach for that matter. We took ‘vacations’ to softball fields and basketball courts. (I went from tearing up to having the biggest smile on my face now.) I remember waking up at 5:30 in the morning, walking out of my room and seeing our uniforms laid out on the couch, ready to go. We grew up this way because you and mom ALWAYS put us first. You and mom gave Shel and I everything you possibly could have.
I will never forget the first Build-a-Bear I ever got. Grandma decided to take Shelby, Sam, Dan, and I to Build-a-Bear one summer…on a Friday. And Friday’s have always been your day off. So what did I do? I stayed home with you. I always rememeber feeling bad leaving you; I felt like I had to spend time with you because you would be sad if I didn’t. (And no—I’m not making this up! Looking back on it…Dad probably wanted a day off but Kylie was always there!) Grandma ended up making me a Build-a-Bear and bringing it home to me. Till this day, we still have ‘daddy-sissy’ days, usually weekly.
We have really had some great times together dad. Driving 3.5 hours the morning after Grandma passed away to pick up Shelby. The week(s) we spent while Shelby, mom, and Grandma were in Colorado. (I remember just going to the grocery store and we bought everything we wanted...because mom wasn't there to tell us no. We always joked if we lived together without mom, we would be broke.) All the nights we played poker together. Going on juice runs. Going to the gym and spending hours there together. The hours spent playing softball and playing basketball in the front yard. Our walks we used to take every evening. Some of my best memories have been with you.
I think one of my favorite qualities about you is that you are always the first to say you made a mistake. I love getting texts from you saying you messed something up, so you clean it up, own up to it, and move on. It’s life and we all make mistakes. I will never forget when we talked about people who can’t do this and how they are not true to themselves. I knew adults who will never take blame for anything they do, and it is a sad site to see. I couldn’t imagine growing up around someone who isn’t true to themselves like that. Thank you dad. Thank you for letting me make my own mistakes, and teaching me to own up to them. It never gets less embarrassing or nerve wrecking…but what can you do? You own up to it and you move on. It is simple as that.
You’ve always had my back. You’ve always given me great advice. You’ve always built my self-esteem and self-confidence up. You have taught me how to be the bigger person (through example). You have really done it all. I don’t care what anyone thinks because I am in love with the woman that I am. I am not perfect. But I am real, and I have you to thank for that. You and mom have made me who I am today, and I am really freaking proud. I am happy, healthy, and ready to take on life. All thanks to you.
Thank you for teaching me about life, dad. I wouldn’t have wanted to learn these lessons from anyone else. Thank you for showing me what a REAL man is. I hope my husband can teach my children as well as you have taught Shelby and I.
“When my world goes crazy you won't let go. When the ground gets shaky you give me hope. When I try to push you away you never move. When I start doubting you help me see, there's a strength and a mind and a power in me."
I love you, dad.
You are my hero.
Happy birthday man.