The first man I ever loved was my Dad.The first memory I have of my dad was him holding me late at night and rocking me in a chair. I remember the comfort that I felt. I knew I was loved.My Dad had a dream that I thank God every day that he dreamed. He dreamed of a life for me that involved providing for me a rock solid foundation of faith and temporal blessings. Dad often shared that dream with me as I grew up.
My Dad and Mom joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints when I was one. Through the years I have heard my Dad bear his testimony that he wanted to go to a church that believed that family was central to God's plan. He wanted his daughter to grow up knowing that God loved her and that life would be challenging but we could be happy. I am thankful every day for this choice they made.
Dad grew up without any luxuries. He was determined to have a different life for me. I remember as a child waiting and watching as he patiently crawled under my mom's old car to start it each day. He would start it with his work clothes on, take me where I needed to be, driving that old car cheerfully to work and Chiropractic school. Then he would come home and study all night. I watched him study. I had no idea at that time that later when I struggled through fatigue and motherhood, I would be inspired by the memory of my father sitting at his desk and studying for hours. He and my mom put my Dad through Chiropractic school with a daughter and no financial help. They were determined to give me a good life.
As I got older, my Dad took me everywhere. He took me on fishing trips, to parties, to visit family, camping, on cruises, he taught me to water ski, he took me to athletic events and practices, he took me to my friends houses and church. My favorite times with my Dad were those times when we would spend long days together. He talked to me for hours about important life lessons. He taught me about relationships, disappointment and success.
When I entered the teenage years, Dad talked to me very frankly about drugs, boys and friends. He encouraged me and cared. He listened to me. He was my math tutor. I was two grade levels ahead in math and I attribute a lot of that to my Dad.
Through each stage of life, my Dad was there to help me. One of the greatest lessons I learned from my Dad was perseverance. I am so proud of my Dad. I had the privilege of watching him graduate from Chiropractic college and begin his own business. He had no money to start our new life. He figured out a way to be a business owner and he moved forward. He sacrificed so much and worked so hard, now he is successful. By watching my father, I learned marketing, people skills, hard work, money management, health and wellbeing, goal setting and most of all love.
As I became an adult, I have learned that I truly had a unique experience to have such a devoted father. Throughout my teenage years, when I was a challenge, my Dad was always there and he never raised his voice. I knew that he wanted what was best for me and if I ever needed anything my Dad would take care of me. Unfortunately, most people do not have that blessing. I am so grateful.
My Dad always treated my mother with respect and put her first. He served her and loved her and made sure she always felt safe and comfortable. He made her the center of his life. They worked together and lived together, traveled together and have done everything together. His great example taught me how a man is supposed to treat a woman.
I love my Dad and I cherish these memories and lessons. I am enjoying the experience of watching him go through this beautiful cycle again with my children, his Grandson's. I thank Heavenly Father for this man that I first loved, for his strength and kindness and I hope that he knows how much I see in his amazing example.