Mommy loves to tell the story of the day I was born. As soon as I was all cleaned up and looking beautiful, they handed me to my Daddy. Of course, I was yelling my fool head off as babies tend to do. He smiled, patted my rear, and snuggled me close. Thus, began my first true love in life. As fate would have it, I turned out to be the last of 5 children (and the last of us girls). This led to Daddy seeing me as his princess, his munchkin, or his brat, depending on my behavior of the day. I can still remember standing on his feet and dancing as a little girl. Once, he got sent down south for an Army National Guard thing. He bought everyone t-shirts as a souvenir while he was there. Everyone but me, that is. He bought me an ARMY teddy bear dressed in fatigues, jump boots, the whole nine. I really was his baby and he loved me unconditionally.
Like all kids, I wasn’t always an angel and I’ve definitely had my share of “I hate you” fights with my Daddy. I’m talking about screaming, yelling, slamming doors, etc. Then we’d storm off to our separate corners and usually scream about the other to Mommy (she really makes a great mediator). Then we’d slink back with the sad face and hug, kiss, and talk it out and we were best friends once more (until the next argument).
My Father was also a strict disciplinarian (as is my Mother). Both had no problem putting me and my siblings in our places no matter where we were or even what the occasion was. Usually, I was the one getting hollered at and punished but after a bit, I kind of figured stuff out and life started making sense and in spite of the discipline I received, I eventually grew up (to a point) to be a semi-normal adult (married with kids and all).
I have many fond memories of my Dad and not a day goes by where I don’t wish I can pick up the phone to call Mommy and hear him yelling in the background “I need to talk to her”. He and I swapped books by James Patterson frequently and loved discussing them. I can still hear him singing his favorite hymns with joy and yelling at “idiot drivers” as he called them.
My Father stood tall, strong, and proud. He served this country and retired as a Staff Sergeant from the Army National Guard. He was with Mommy for over 40 years. He raised 5 kids who in turn started raising their own kids and then the great grandkids. He worked hard for his family, loved us all fiercely, and seemed to lead with an iron fist (really, he was teddy bear). I spent 36 years with my first best friend in life. I’m now closing in the 1st year without him. Some days are harder than others but each day I try to remember the man my Father was and then I strive to be the daughter he always boasted about.