this past Christmas, you gave me the one of the greatest gifts- an external hard drive with over 72,000 photos and videos from the past 24+ years of my life. You wrote me a short note saying:
"Since you always enjoy looking at the photos when you are home, I thought you may want to have your own copy...
Merry Christmas. Love you, Dad"
i find joy & purpose sharing my own story and helping others by doing so- my whole teenage/adult life, i've been particularly fascinated with knowing the stories of the people i cross paths with and my life revolves around sharing those stories.
but i've never truly known your story, dad.
you've always been the silent guardian in the house, watching over your wife, children, dogs & a million barn cats.
but you've given me a wonderful gift this past year:
these photos tell your story.
as i scroll through these 72,000 photos and videos, i notice that you are in less than half of them, Dahdee.
this is not because you weren't there for us- this is because you were behind the lens, capturing the joyful and tremendous moments of our lives.
you've always been there, to watch over us, to push us. to tease us, to believe in us.
of the very few photos you are in, i cherish each and every one of them, and am reminded of what a blessing you are in my life- i remember our father-daughter dates to the movies and the distinct memory of holding your hand as we went up the escalator in the mall, thinking how lucky i was to be your little girl. i even remember the jealousy i felt as you'd walk out the door with my little brother, both of you dressed head to toe in Buffalo Bills apparel, ready to hit up Mighty Taco before enjoying a game at the Ralph [i think i was more jealous about you two going for Mighty Taco than anything else].
i remember looking up at you in the bleachers during every single basketball game i played throughout my middle and highschool years- you sat silently in the very back of the bleachers for every single home and away game- you never missed one.
i remember how you stood silently after disciplining me countless of times as i'd scream at you with all my young-adult angst, exclaiming that "YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND MY LIFE."
you learned to let me create my own story though, with all the slips and falls, and all the lessons. just as you sat silently watching over me at every basketball game, you've been there this entire time, watching over me when i gracefully succeeded and miserably failed.
i remember the first and only time i saw you cry when i opened my Geneseo acceptance letter, and i remember your smile as we hugged each other on graduation day, knowing we MADE IT, together.
i remember you driving me to my first entry-level job at the ass-crack of dawn- you drove for 45 minutes in your rusty red truck and quietly mumbled insults at every person in their car who pulled out in-front of you.
and i remember how every friday after work, i'd cash my paycheck and stop at the liquor store to get you a bottle of dry red wine. we'd sit by the fireplace at home together while we watched Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. these are precious moments i absolutely cherish.
i remember the first time i actually saw you RELAX when you decided to take our family on an annual trip to Cape Cod & i have enjoyed every single moment- the stuffy 8-hour drive, the walks on the beach, and starry and boozy nights.
i remember your wariness when i left home for my first apartment, and i remember your selfless support when i signed my second lease with you by my side.
Dahdee, i truly wouldn't be where i am without you in my life- i am thankful for your guardianship every step of the way. i am sure it's been difficult for you to watch as my health failed and my hair fell out, but your steadfast support keeps me strong and i continue to wake up every morning with hope.
this past Christmas, you gave me one of the greatest gifts- i am able to look back at those 72,000 photos and embrace your story in mom's life, in my life, in my brothers' lives.
Dahdee, YOU are the greatest gift.
and i am honored and blessed to be your daughter.
Happy Father's Day, Dahdee.
I love you,
Clip Clop Clair Doodle (dba HBO)