|My Dad and Hope (my replacement as the baby of the family)|
Everyone calls him Jim. I jokingly refer to him as "Big Jim" when I talk about him to my friends and he is one of the hardest working men I know. My dad never went to college, and he freely admits that school was HARD for him. Throughout my entire life, my Dad worked two jobs. He worked at a bank by day (not as an executive, but he somehow became an integral part of the bank's daily routine). At night he cleaned office buildings. Every single night. I helped him sometimes and I hated it. The job was gross and dirty, but my Dad has always taken pride in his work and kept those offices looking top-notch.
Growing up, my Dad was tough on my brother and I. I wasn't always a fan of that either. I now understand that he was shaping us into the independent, professional, respected individuals that we are today. (Plus the man worked 60 hours or more every week. Hard work at that. I think I can cut him a little slack for being so tough on us.)
Even in retirement, my Dad still works every day. He retired from the bank two years ago and became the head of the cleaning crew at the school where I teach. How many girls can say that they get to see their Dad every day?
It's funny that a man who was so tough and intimidating 25 years ago is now one of the sweetest and most sentimental men I know. He takes great pride in his family. Anyone who meets Big Jim has the great misfortune of hearing all about my brother and I. Yup, he's that dad that always brags about his kids. His eyes also well up with tears any time one of us gets even a little sentimental.
(I know you're crying now, Dad. Grab a tissue and take a deep breath.)
Big Jim is also infuriating when it comes to money. After working hard for his entire life to provide for his family, he still tries to share money with my brother and I every chance he gets. I refuse each time he offers to pay for something, only to hear his favorite expression in response: "You can have it now, or you can have it when I'm dead." Those words are always the trump card. How can you argue with your Dad when he mentions his mortality?
The past year has been simply amazing. The blog has gained some footing, my products have become popular resources in many classrooms, and the fans have been oh-so-sweet. Throughout all of it, I have remained keenly aware that success is only born from hard work. Lots of long hours and late nights creating, sharing, and solving problems. Without the example set by my father, I would not know the value of hard work and the pride that comes from doing my best in all of my endeavors. I have him to thank for so many of the blessings I enjoy each day.
I can either say it now, or I can say it when you're dead:
Dad, thank you so much for all you have done. For the many tireless days and long nights, for keeping me on the straight and narrow growing up, and most of all for sharing your love. I love you so much and Happy Father's Day.
I'm glad I said it now.