Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Tribute to My Father

I'd like to take this opportunity to express appreciation for my father Marty (pictured with me below), who's embraced me, disabilities and all, from day one. Below is a letter I wrote for him. Happy Father's Day!

Dear Dad,

Mom told me you were in the delivery room with her when I was born 29 years ago. She also said you were so excited to see me again shortly after my birth, you went to the hospital nursery and held me before she did. I can only imagine how you felt when you were told I had a rare genetic disorder and might not live to see my first birthday. Considering some fathers of children with disabilities abandon their families, the fact you stayed with Mom and me is commendable and appreciated.

I’m impressed you’ve been working as a mechanical engineer for the same company for over 30 years. This has enabled you to financially provide for all of my needs. Your work ethic inspires me to do my best at my job. Despite your full-time work schedule, you’ve always been actively involved in my life. When not at work, you’ve helped Mom take care of me, no matter how messy I get. During weekends when I was a baby, you got me out of bed and fed me breakfast so Mom could sleep in. Getting out of bed along with Mom upon my call, you tended to me whenever I didn’t feel well at night.

Here are more reasons I’m thankful to have you for my father: You read bedtime stories to me when I was in preschool; this led to my love of reading and writing. You helped me with my math homework and science projects. You played video games with me for hours. You held my hand when I was put to sleep in the operating room before 15 surgeries and spent days with me in the hospital. You made our house more handicapped accessible by making modifications such as a new sink and walk-in shower. You attended many school functions. You took me out on father-daughter dates such as dinners at restaurants and church events. You took Mom and me on memorable vacations, the latest one being in North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

One family value you instilled in me at an early age is a strong faith in God, our Heavenly Father. You took me to church and religious education classes every week. This has helped me tremendously in dealing with my disabilities. I also learned how to be sociable by watching you interact in a friendly manner with everyone you meet. I appreciate how you keep yourself fit through exercise so you can continue to lift and carry me (I know I’m not as light as I used to be). To borrow a term used by a fellow writer, you are one of my biggest encouragers, motivating me to achieve my goals despite my limitations.

Over the years, several people have said I look like you. I consider this a compliment. I’m proud of my Irish heritage from you. I hope this letter gives you an idea of the undeniable impact you’ve had on my life. Thank you very much for everything. Happy Father’s Day, and here’s to many more!



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