When I was six, I lost my mother. I was too young to fully grasp what was happening, but it soon became clear that my dad and I were on our own.
Throughout elementary school, we were pretty much inseparable. We went bike riding, camping and even hunting together. I would help him at volunteer functions and around the house, and he always said he wouldn’t know what he would do without me.
Then adolescence hit, and I became his worst nightmare. I had the typical teenage attitude and disagreed with my dad on everything, just for the sake of disagreeing. I complained every time he asked me to do anything, and we got in yelling matches all time, over the smallest things.
In eighth grade, my dad took me to Dublin, Ireland, to meet distant family members and explore the country of our ancestors. It was amazing, until I threw a fit because he wouldn’t buy me an expensive guitar and ship it back to the States. I was so mad that I purposefully hid from him in downtown Dublin. I can’t imagine the stress I put him through.
I was angry with my dad throughout middle school and high school, and I fantasized about how life would be if my Mom was still with us. But I overlooked all the sacrifices my dad made for me.
He began working from home so he could spend more time with me. He patiently humored me each time I became interested in something new and quickly tired of it: ballet, soccer, archery, softball, guitar lessons … the list goes on. He and my mom started a college fund when I was five, and he’s financing my education now.
I am so thankful to him for putting up with all my teenage antics and for everything he’s given me. I’m even thankful to him for trying to dissuade me from pursuing a career in journalism due to the dismal pay. But unfortunately, I’m like him in that I’m stubborn, and this is the career I’m sticking with.
And while during my rebellious years I vowed I would never grow up to be like my dad, it was unavoidable. A year ago, someone told me my dad and I are very alike. At first, I balked at the idea, but when I took the time to think about it, I realized they were right.
We are both stubborn, hard-working and extremely energetic. We have the same nose and chin. We love classic rock ‘n’ roll and we like most of the same foods. We enjoy a good party and we probably talk with our hands too much. And now we’re both Cougs.
Thank you, Dad, for helping me be the best I can be.