My dad always told my sister and me that a well-written card is better than a present any day.
Still, we surprise him every Father's Day with presents stacked sky-high on the kitchen table, only for him to return them all and feature our cards proudly and prominently somewhere on the fireplace mantle. Growing up, I always laughed when I skimmed through the Father's Day cards at CVS, which inevitably seemed to be written for the "strong and silent" type dad. My dad, while strong, is in no way silent.
I grew up in a house where the traditional gender roles were switched up. My mom, a successful and badass judge, worked a nine to five job while my dad had the flexibility of owning his own business right in my hometown. As a lawyer turned successful restauranteur, my father is by far the hardest-working person I know. And after years of piecing together his dream life, my dad turned out to be, well, my soccer mom.
He was genuinely happy to drive me to school, bring me lunch in the middle of the day and even convince me to play hooky once in awhile so we could hang out just the two of us. No matter where we are he always has a camera, taking pictures of me and my sister even when we bitch and moan. He unabashedly cries during sappy movies as the rest of us make fun of him. And I still pine over the gourmet lunches he made for me in high school, packed neatly into separate containers to make sure nothing spilled.
My dad coached almost every sports team my sister and I were on. From basketball to softball, he was always carting us around town, making sure we ate before a game or had the right uniform. I first heard the term "soccer mom" in seventh grade when a few of the other coaches, who were also fathers, began making fun of my dad, calling him the "soccer mom" of the team. These grown men were attempting to openly embarrass my father, as though what he did for his daughters was somehow worth less than what they did for theirs.
You know what my dad did in the face of that baseless teasing? Absolutely nothing. He didn't give a sh*t what those other fathers had to say about his life. And in that moment, I was immeasurably proud to be his daughter.
I am privileged to have a father who is fearless in ways I've never seen a man be. Instead of yelling at me when I got into trouble, he always pulled out the "I'm just so disappointed in you" speech (which is so much worse). When I have a problem, he'll sit with me for hours to talk it through -- even if the issue at hand is a bit uncomfortable. And no matter the situation, he will always tell me the truth.
Although long discussions and measured parenting might not be the first things that come to mind when you hear the word "fearless," that's exactly what my father is.
So, Dad, I know you're reading this because you check if I've written something new every morning. You have given me everything I could've asked for, made me earn everything I needed to work for and have shown me that life is at its best when laughing over a cup of coffee.
I created my own path because of you. I work hard every single day because of you. And I will love my future children fiercely because of you.
You've given me all the tools to live passionately and without regret. And I will do everything in my power to use them to piece together my own dream life, just like I've seen you do over the past 23 years. But no matter how old I get, I will still need you.
The words that encompass my love for you do not exist, although I attempt to find them year after year in my Father's Day card to you.
Happy Father's Day, Dad. I'll see you for coffee soon.
Follow Alanna Vagianos on Twitter: www.twitter.com/lannadelgrey