Sunday, March 20, 2016

Happy birthday Dad!

Last week, I mentioned how I got really lucky the day I was born with two great parents.  The first was my mom, who's birthday was last Wednesday. The second is my dad, who's birthday is today! If you've ever met my dad, you know that he's a Notre Dame fan.  If you didn't know that, then you've never really met my dad.

At Notre Dame, there is a saying "God, Country, Notre Dame."  When I hear that, I immediately think of my dad.  He embodies this quote almost exactly.  I would change the quote to say "God, Country, Family, Notre Dame" because if there is one thing my dad loves more than Notre Dame it's his family.

Growing up, my siblings and I grew up with God.  He was ever present in our house. I remember listening to my dad talk about God and how important he was. Not only did he talk about God, but he served God as such a great moral role model for his family.  He constantly did what was right.  

You know that guy on 4th of July who is wearing every piece of American flag clothing possible?  That's not my dad.  I don't think he would ever be caught dead in an American flag bandana or swim suit, but let me tell you, he loves his country. He's the first to remove his hat for the National Anthem and will thank every military member (past or present) for his or her service.  He votes in every single election and even ran for city council one time.  The Turks give him a run for their money with their national pride, but I think my dad is one of my most patriotic people I know.

Probably the closest thing my dad owns to an American flag shirt

I once heard a story that about a month after I was born, someone asked my dad how life as a dad was going and his response was "this is so much more fun than I thought it would be!"  I could probably write a book about how much my dad loves his family. From the beginning, he worked hard to support his family, even if that meant late nights and weekends at the office. He coached our soccer and softball teams and attended every parent/teacher conference possible. He made sure to come home for dinner at night and stayed through bed time before returning to work if necessary. Outside of our immediate family, his dedication to family never wavered.  When my grandmother was sick, he was by her side to care for her as well as make sure her bills and logistics were taken care of.  He'll email a cousin halfway across the country if he thinks there's a chance they could meet up and he will tell countless stories about his childhood surrounded by his family.  Oh, and my mom?  He probably loves her the most.  I remember him asking me on a random day how to send my mom a song via email because it reminded him of her. He's crazy about her. To say he loves his family is almost an understatement because he's kind of obsessed with all of us (even if we are a little nutty).

Like I said before, if you've met my dad, you know he's a Notre Dame fan, but that's almost an understatement, as well.  He loves Notre Dame almost as much as he loves his family. Almost.  This is the guy that would coach my softball games on Saturdays with a portable television in hand to watch the Notre Dame football game.  He wears his Notre Dame tie to church on Sundays and had me in an Irish cheerleader outfit when I was two.  Don't be confused, though.  It's not just Notre Dame football that he's a fan of.  He knows when any sports team makes it to the playoffs, can give the best campus tour around and was the president of the local alumni association when I was younger.  

Because my dad was a little conflicted between the love for his country (and his new son-in-law's military service) and his love for Notre Dame, this was the compromise he came up with for his Father of the Bride speech. I'm biased, but I still think it was the best speech.

I think my brothers and I got pretty lucky with my dad.  His love for us has never wavered and his dedication to God, his country and Notre Dame has remained strong and steady throughout it all.  

I love this picture.  This was the moment he saw me in my wedding dress for the first time!

My dad lives by the rule work hard play hard.  What a party animal!
I'm all smiles here, but when we practiced this the night before, I was tearing up.    How lucky I am to have such a great dad.
I love this picture of us.

Happy birthday Dad!  You deserve a great one!

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