Ever since I was young, my Dad has exemplified what a truly good man looks like. Many little girls grow up thinking their dad is the “best dad” or that he holds all the qualities you’ll ever need to find in a “prince” one day. For me, though, when I grew up and figured out that all of life isn’t a fairytale, I realized that my Dad still exemplifies the prince I need in my future. There’s endless articles on people who express feeling “doomed to end up with a man like their father” or why ending up with a man like your father can be “good or bad”… but for me, it would be a blessing.
1. He’s funny. Sometimes it may not be entirely intentional, but his joy is contagious. Whether it’s his laugh when the dog decides to lick his bald head, or him making an utter fool of himself dancing like crazy among the high schoolers he leads or at my sisters’ wedding, you can’t help but join in his joy.
2. He can actually shop for us! I know this one is rare among even the best men, but 98% of the time, my dad can not only pick out a shirt that suits my sister or I, but he has actually been the catalyst in us becoming fans of Banana Republic. Growing up, I’d open a shirt or purse for my birthday and when I’d exclaim how much I loved it, my Mom would get all (jokingly) frustrated because guess who picked it out? That’s right, Dad. To this day, friends have a look of surprise when they say they like something I’m wearing and I say “Thanks! My Dad got it for me!”
3. He’s the cook. While many other kids grow up with their mom being the cook in the family, for me that always seemed so odd. Mom made us toast and hot cereal when we were sick, but Dad made the General Tso’s Chicken, Tortellini Casserole, Beef Goulash, and Chocolate mousse to die for. If he went away for a business trip, he’d leave us frozen meals with instructions to reheat or “easy” meal ideas for us to follow. Even at the end of his long days at work, he’d “whip up” something delicious for us for dinner.
4. He can communicate well. Another rare trait among men is the ability to communicate in all settings. He is known to communicate well at work, among friends, AND with us as his family. The man at work is the same man who comes home. I’ve never heard of anything he’s done in the office that doesn’t make me proud to be his daughter. My response is always “Yep, that’s my dad.”
The man at work is the same man who comes home.
5. He supports my dreams. That is not to say he always understands them, but he will always support them and try as much as he can to learn more. He jokes all the time that I got my artistic side from my Mom, which is true, but when I decided to attend art school for Graphic Design, he attended every art show and offered constructive criticism whenever he could. I still remember him saying that he has a much deeper appreciation for what looks like “simple art” after watching me toil away on my own projects. Now he’ll actually go into art galleries with me because he knows it means a lot to me and that matters to him.
6. He is honest. There are times in life when lying would certainly be much easier. But for my dad, he sticks to the truth and it’s an admirable quality when used properly. Honesty isn’t about being blunt and rude for the sake of not lying. Honesty is witnessing my mom asking him about an outfit she bought while out shopping and seeing him say something like either “Wow, Honey, you look beautiful” or “There’s other shirts you own that are so much more flattering for your beauty, that one’s not worth it.” See what he did there? He still said it wasn’t the best buy for her, but he didn’t do so by crushing her self-esteem. He lifted it up in the process!
He is honest without ever crushing self-esteem.
7. He thinks my Mom was the most beautiful woman ever. To this day, he still remembers how she had the most radiant smile, how her eyes were a sparkling, unique shade of blue, and how she “sashayed” in “her little genie pants.” While I’m sure he also loved the rest of her body and that loving the way she walked was something physical, he never expressed any kind of degrading sentiment about her. He speaks of her eyes the most, and her laugh. What he expresses the most about her are genuine qualities of who she was that made her such a radiant person to be around. It speaks to his wanting to make her smile, just to see it, and wanting to look her in the face when having a conversation, because her eyes were beautiful to him. It speaks to how much he loved to laugh with her, because that sound meant more to him than any business meeting or promotion from his boss ever could. She was the most beautiful woman in the world to him and that’s all that mattered.
It speaks to his wanting to make her smile, just to see it, and wanting to look her in the face when having a conversation, because her eyes were beautiful to him. It speaks to how much he loved to laugh with her, because that sound meant more to him than any business meeting or promotion from his boss ever could.
8. He remembers the important days! I don’t just mean birthdays; he remembers when my sister and I have a big day coming up, an anniversary of my sister and her husband, or graduation day of one of the kids he mentors. Plus, one of the most endearing things about my parents’ marriage was seeing my Dad remember the anniversary of their first date (according to him at least haha), or the date that he proposed to her, while even Mom had forgotten. He’d get her a card or gift or flowers to celebrate, and almost every time she’d say she had forgotten but usually then tear up because, once again, he came through and remembered, even when she couldn’t. It’s truly the little things that matter, isn’t it?
9. He has a solid faith to stand on. My parents didn’t start their marriage with a faith, but came to find one together when I was very young. And together, their faiths both grew strong independently, and united, wholly trusting God at the core. When times got hard and Mom barely had anything left to give, it was Dad who’d commit to getting her to the prayer service where her lymph-edema was healed. It was Dad still showing her God’s kind of love when she needed to hear or see it the most. And it was MOM urging my dad to attend his men’s Bible Study because she knew how important His faith was, too. Faith was and is His core of who He is.
10. His friends matter, but God and Family come first. Dad has his own friends, of course, and they’d even call one another “brothers,” but ultimately, Dad would bend over backwards to ensure that his family is taken care of before even his closest friends. He takes this so seriously, that it’s the very same reason my Mom had to urge him to attend his Bible study with them… she mattered more. It’s the very same reason that my sister and I both have encouraged him to go out and spend time with his friends when he’s invited to dinner. And it’s the same reason why he’s embraced that. We all know, because he’s shown us time and time again, that he’d be there no questions asked if we called him and needed him. So while I love to see him have time with his friends and to build those relationships, I really cherish that he has stood by his word of always putting God first and family second, and never wavering on that.
11. He serves everyone. My Dad is incredibly generous. It’s only because of him that my sister and I have been able to make tough choices for the betterment of our health because we had him to lean on. And it’s because of him that we, too, have learned to give and be generous with others. One might say it’s easy to do for family, but he is known to be generous with friends as well. When God puts something on his heart as a way he can serve others, whether that’s monetarily, or with his cooking a meal, or even offering his time to help others, he never holds anything back.
He loved her by always being there for her and revealing to her the strengths she already possessed and bringing them out for others to witness.
12. HE LOVED MY MOM. He loved her on the good days when it was all laughs and smiles. He loved her on the days when there were difficult conversations to have and decisions to make. He loved her when she could be her happy, bouncy, active self, and on the days when she barely had it in her to get out of bed. He loved her even when they fought, and he loved her and showed her that love through apologizing and acknowledging that she meant more than any silly disagreement. He loved her by always being there for her and revealing to her the strengths she already possessed and bringing them out for others to witness. He loved her by letting her love others even when he thought they didn’t deserve that love from his precious wife… and he grew from it. He loved her by being the best possible husband he could be because he knew that’s what she deserved the most.
Dad, I could have no better example of the man I want to marry one day than you – the greatest hero of my own lifes’ fairytale. You’re the one who saves so many and takes no credit. You’re the man behind the camera cheering on our greatest accomplishments and wiping our tears when we fall short. You’re the man who reminds me that it’s okay to have “high standards” because men like you really do exist. You’re the man who I look up to, who I treasure, cherish and who I’m proud to call MY DAD.