I could start by thanking you for the easy things...
My bed, my clothes and the food that you put on the table when I was young.
For coaching my baseball team, swinging me in the air as we walked down the road and for the vacations pulled together on a shoestring budget.
The patience, love and understanding that you showed me in accepting me as I was... and not trying to push me into being a more societally 'typical' male.
But somehow that feels like I've barely scratched the surface.
What I really want to thank you for is all of the small decisions that you made on a daily basis that I will never know about.
I want to thank you for the times that I cried as a baby, and you got up out of bed to hold me because you wanted to let mom sleep.
I want to thank you for all of the bedtime stories that you read to me, even on those days you'd put in extra hours at work. A lesser man would have outsourced the 'responsibility' to his wife and gone straight to bed... but you chose not to.
I want to thank you for the times that you let me see you cry, so I could understand that when my friends told me that "boys don't cry," they weren't telling the truth.
I want to thank you for how you handled the rough patches in your life, as you turned further into the love of your family when you could have just as easily closed off to us.
I want to thank you for stopping old habits that weren't serving you (like smoking) in favor of being a better role model.
I want to thank you for all of the times that you carried me on your shoulders, even when I was getting too big to be up there.
I want to thank you for having and resolving disagreements with my mother in front of me as a child, so I could grow up to know that conflict in relationships is not only inevitable, but something to be embraced and seen as an opportunity to further grow together.
I want to thank you for every time you kissed, hugged, or complimented mom, my siblings, and I even before my brain was storing memories... for every single one of those moments is locked in my mind and my heart forever.
I want to thank you for being the best possible role model I could have hoped for. And for all of the moment to moment tiny decisions that you made, that I will never know about, that forged you into the man, and the father, that you became.
I love you, dad.
This post originally appeared at TheGoodMenProject.com
Photo courtesy of JordanGrayConsulting.com