Be Brave And Then Be Strong: A Father’s Day Tribute

In honor of Father’s day this upcoming weekend, forgive me for deviating a bit off-subject (yet again) to write a post about my father.

I was crying, looking back I was unreasonable, but at that moment it was consuming my world. It was my senior year of college and I had just found out that my obligations to student teaching would force me to stay an extra month in Milwaukee. I just wanted to go home. Without hesitation, my dad said that it would be ok, he would come out to Milwaukee and spend the month with me.

Thankfully, he didn’t have to. But that’s just the type of person my Dad is. He’s giving, generous, outgoing and friendly. The first person to make a newcomer feel welcome. He’s everything I want to be and wish I could be. He always puts his family and loved ones before everyone else, even if that means he has to put on a smile and make others laugh even though he’s hurting. He reminds me a bit of his favorite actor, Jimmy Stewart in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ a generous man who truly doesn’t know the positive impact he’s had on those around him.

I’m extremely lucky to have been blessed with a dad like him. He makes me laugh when I’m crying and can make the most mundane day feel special. He always knows what to say or do. After my first car accident my senior year of high school, a stressful and anxious experience for any 17-year-old, I opened my lunch in the cafeteria the next afternoon to find a note that said “Don’t worry about it, its ok, I love you.” In that moment that note meant more to me than words could ever explain, it still does, when I think about it.

Waking up early when I was 5 or 6 to watch reruns of The Little Rascals with me on the old black and white tv, making sure to wash my favorite beauty and the beast outfit every day, even though he really wished I would wear something else. Flying home from Milwaukee when I was in college, I lived for the moment when I could finally rush off the plane, and would almost run though Logan airport, the only thing I could focus on was looking for was the man whose blue eyes matched my own. The second I spotted my dad standing there in the airport, Dunkin Donuts coffee in hand (Dunkin Donuts are a rarity in Wisconsin) I would give him a giant hug that I hoped would convey how much I missed him. It’s the small things that make the biggest impact. Its these moments that that I can recall every detail of and how they made me feel, as if they were yesterday- its these moments that made me who I am.

So, Happy Father’s Day to the best Dad anyone could ever ask for. The man who listened to The Monkees greatest hits cassette on repeat in the car for years on end and never once complained. He never asks for anything, except maybe to play catch in the yard once in a while or for my brother and I to come over for a cookout. I thought maybe this year, I would put into words just a tiny bit of how much I appreciate him.

We joke in my family that my dad’s not the best gift-receiver, he’d rather be the person giving the gift because he lives to make others happy. This time however, I’m not giving him a choice. I hope he’ll accept this small gift as a token of how much I love him. I hope one day I can be exactly like you.

Happy Father’s Day, I love you Dad.

-Michelle McGonagle

 

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