Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Dear Dad

You asked for golf stuff for Father's Day but all you're getting is this letter and maybe another lobstah dinner at the beach next week.

Just kidding...you're getting golf stuff, too.

But not the lobster. Sorry.

First, this.

 Father's Day is a day for honoring you, our dad, and for saying thanks for all you've done for us over the years. But a simple thank you doesn't really seem to cut it when we look back at the laundry list of ways that you've supported us and loved us as we grew up. It's really difficult to put into words what you've meant to the three of us over the years. When we think back to when we were younger, we remember sitting up in our rooms, stuffed animals lined up on the beds, windows open, breeze blowing, and your voice making up stories for us before bedtime. We loved how you changed your voice for each of the characters and gave them silly names like a squirrel...named Squirrel. (And later, when we were older, the memorable story of the Indian who killed two buffalo with one arrow by shooting it in one eye and out the other of the first buffalo and then into the second. That Colorado camping trip is still the #1 All-Time Best Vacation Ever.) After telling us "just one more" you'd send us off to bed by singing Edelweiss in your scratchy, off -key voice and even though you always told us how terrible of a singer you were, we loved every note you sang. But while the details of each of the individual stories and each night you serenaded us have faded over the years, what remains fresh in our minds is the quality time you spent with your girls after a long day at work. You always made time for us even when you were probably ready to fall into your own bed and sleep for a week. Thanks for always making that special time a priority.

As we grew up and started getting into different activities, you were always quick to jump in and help. When we all started playing softball, you were our first coach. We remember those days on the field with you teaching us and our friends how to throw and hit and encouraging us when we missed the ball time after time. You cheered us on when did well and when we didn't, you patted us on the back and told us to keep practicing and be patient, that we'd improve over time. And of course you were right. (Even though we don't like to admit it, you were right a whole lot.) All the girls loved Coach Krohn and often asked, "Is that your dad?" to which we responded proudly, "Yes it is." (This, of course, was before we were teenagers.)  :)

One thing that sticks out in our minds is how much of an entertainer you are. We remember Memorial Day picnics in our backyard where you orchestrated croquet matches and water balloon tosses and human pyramid building, all while making sure everyone was having an amazing time and everyone was included and everyone had a cold drink. Or that Halloween party where nobody knew who the ghosts were and it turned out that it was your sisters who drove all the way from Massachusetts just to go to one of your parties. (We know that because even though we were banished to the upstairs, we sat on the top step and watched everyone in their costumes and listened to everyone laughing (you, the loudest of all, which we loved) and having a great time.) Or the birthday party you threw for mom with all of our favorite people or all the Christmas Eve's that you invited friends over for shrimp and soup or the amazing weddings you've planned (one more to go!) where the party could've gone on all night because the music was perfect and the dancing was plentiful. You have always been the life of the party. Always made everyone feel at ease and welcomed. Always made a big deal of every single guest that walked into our yard or into our kitchen. You have always set such a great example of how to love others well.

*We made fun of you because you insisted that you couldn't do it. You laughed and said, "This is stupid" which of course made all of us laugh, too.*

When we got older and all three of us joined the Marching Band in high school, you could have won an award for Band Parent of the Year. Working the concession stand at the football games and at the fair grounds and banging that crazy cow bell in the stands, you never missed a thing. We have fond memories of your awesomely loud cackling laugh ringing out over the yelling of orders at the concession stand when we would come over for hot chocolate or nachos during our third quarter breaks. When people hear your laugh they can't help but join in, and the best part is that usually, you're laughing at a joke that you yourself just told. You are seriously one of the funniest guys we know and sometimes we quote some of your most memorable lines to each other when we all need a good laugh. Thanks for always being our number one fan at football games, competitions, and all the different sporting events we played in over the years. We always knew where you were in the stands and loved having you be a part of our lives whether we told you so or not.

As we've graduated from college and moved on to getting jobs and getting married and having children, you've remained our number one supporter. When we rented or bought houses, you always offered to help us move or get projects done around our new place or hold our babies or play with our big kids while we got stuff done. You continue to worry about us and check up on us when you know we're going through difficult times, and often have the uncanny ability to call at the exact moment that we need you, sometimes before we even realize that we really need you. It's a little bit like magic to us, and it seems to be much like a sixth sense to you. Thanks for always checking in, helping us weigh our options, giving us great advice, and telling us that it'll all work out ok in the end. 

Although you might not think so, we've all noticed how hard you worked to take care of us as we were growing up. From the daily grind to new business ideas and new adventures, you've always put your nose down and done what had to be done, and many times, what nobody else wanted to do. Your work ethic and efforts to make our family comfortable and well taken care of have been an inspiration to us and an amazing example of how important it is to always try your best, always give 110%, even when you're not thrilled with what you're doing. We know it hasn't always been easy for you and life (as it does with everyone at some point or another) has knocked you down a time or two and things have been frustrating and not always gone according to your plan. But what we want you to know is that your job never mattered to us. What you did for a living, your title, your paycheck, your awards, they never mattered to us. We're proud of you and all you've accomplished, but that's not what's most important. When we look back over the last 30 years, it's not your work that sticks out in our minds........it's you. It's the time you spent with us, it's the way you supported us, it's the way you cared for us and all of our family and friends, it's the way you've always given people the benefit of the doubt even when they didn't deserve it, it's the way you love us and now your grandchildren in a way that's quiet but all-encompassing and unconditional. We love you more than you'll ever know and there are not enough thank you's or hugs or pats on the back that can ever come close to expressing how much we appreciate you. Thanks for being an amazing example of hard work, perseverance, acceptance, and follow-through. Those are difficult lessons to learn, but after your example, we feel more prepared to face life's challenges head-on.

This really only scratches the surface of how blessed and fortunate we feel to be able to call you Dad, but we hope that this helps you understand just a little bit better. You are such an amazing person and father. Thanks for helping us "bloom and grow forever." 

We love you, Dad. Thanks.....for everything.

With love,
Your girls

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