My dad has taught me so much in my 22 years of life.
1. He taught me how to be a Gator fan. He has taken me to games. BIG games. My Christmas present one year was going to the SEC Championship game. I know the words to "We are the boys..." I chant with the band. I walk miles to the stadium without complaining (I even did it once while I was very pregnant!). All because "It's great to be a Florida Gator!" I'm glad we can share these fun experiences together.
(This is me, and my mom's cousin David and his boy Dawson at a game in Tennessee... dad's the photographer)
2. He taught me how to golf. I hated it when I was little, so he never pushed it on me. Now I love it. I still suck horribly at it, but he works with me :) We play in our Booster Club tournaments together and played intramurals some this year... we were even co-coaches!
(Me and Dad before the 2010 ICS tournament)
3. He taught me that education is important. He always expected the best out of me in my schoolwork. In grade school a B was just not good enough. I would get in trouble for low As! However harsh it may have seemed, it landed me a full-ride scholarship to AUM, and not much of a struggle to make it through 4 years to a degree. He finished his bachelor's at Faulkner the year I graduated high school, and his master's last year at AUM. We walked together - I for my bachelor's, he for his master's!
(May 14, 2011 - Graduation from AUM)
4. He taught me about patriotism. My dad served in the United States Air Force for 20 years. He is one of the most patriotic people I know. He loves this country more than most. I inherited this gene, and neither one of us can hear the National Anthem without tearing up... and if there's a fly-over... it's OVER. At an air show after an F-16 fly-over, he looked down at me and said "That's the sound of freedom."
(Mom and Dad on their way to dad's Christmas party)
5. Along the same lines of number 4, my dad taught me how to work hard. I've had a job since I was 14 or 15. My dad has always enjoyed working, and does everything to the best of his ability. He pushed me to apply for a civilian student position, and it was the best push he's ever given me. My job at DISA has been a wonderful experience, and gives me the means to support my family. I love working with my dad, and he's daily giving me encouragement and advice. My favorite, most recent quote from him is, "Put a boot on, Piatt!" Some days when things just aren't going great, he drops his favorite line and it turns my attitude around, "Go do something for your country." It reminds me that ultimately my job is to support the warfighter, and if I'm not doing my best, it directly affects them. I'm proud to be known as "Country's daughter" around the building :)
(At one of his pin-ons... or his retirement... not sure)
(DISA Christmas Party 2010)
6. My dad taught me about marriage. He's always giving me marriage advice... especially on the subject of finances. Most of the time it's good advice. He's been married for 22+ years, so I guess he knows something about it!
(Walking me down the aisle - May 28, 2011)
(Mom and Dad.... waaaaay back when....)
7. He taught me to volunteer. I get my social butterfly skills from my father, most definitely. I've served as Booster Club secretary, and currently am President. I've volunteered as intramural golf coach. I've worked the United Way CFC every year since starting DISA. I joined a sorority (back story: dad begged me to join one when I started college... I thought they were stupid... but changed my mind my junior year of college... and voila! I became a DZ. I made him hold up his end of the bargain "I'll pay your dues if you'll join one"). I lovelovelove volunteering. One year dad took me to the soup kitchen in Montgomery and we helped serve lunch... I will never forget that experience. I'm a huge proponent of charities, especially since our experiences with Carter. Places like the Ronald McDonald House need programs like the United Way, and supporters like YOU to fund their operations. "He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and He will pay back what He has given." (Proverbs 19:17)
(Dad, Greyson, and me at the DISA Picnic last week - sponsored by the Booster Club)
8. He taught me to be TOUGH. A girl's gotta be tough to get along in today's society. However, he's not too hard on me when I'm vulnerable and a cry-baby. Like when I have a flat tire. And then he takes care of me and calls up some of his friends to come help me :)
(See that red mark on my nose... he started toughening me up early on)
(Good with a gun - my first time hunting)
9. He taught me to have fun. My dad's a fun guy. It's always a good time with him around.
(At a Father/Daughter banquet)
10. He taught me about love. They say there's nothing like a father's love... I think the same goes for a grandfather's. Carter loves his Papa, and I'm so glad that my dad is involved with him. I love when Carter's face lights up when he sees dad, and how tickled he gets when he plays with him. Dad has been there for us since day one that we found out I was pregnant - we knocked his socks off with the news as he walked in the door from a flight back from Vegas. He went with us for my 20 weeks ultrasound when we found out there were problems. I'm so thankful he came for the targeted ultrasound where they diagnosed the problem and gave us options - Dad asked the tough questions when me, my mom, and Josh were still trying to absorb the information the doctor was giving us.
Dad, thanks for being the best dad and Papa ever. I don't know what I'd do without you. I love you, and hope you have a happy father's day.