My dad is the best dad in the world! I couldn't imagine having anyone else as my father growing up and now (even though I would still classify myself as "growing up"). It is difficult to sum up or tell someone thank you for all that goes into raising you, but I love that we have a day dedicated to doing just that.
Now that I am a parent I have a new perspective on fathering. It is pretty amazing when any child can grow up and look back and say "yeah, man, my parent's did it right! They were great parents to me!" But that is the case with my upbringing. Ian and I talk about it all the time when we discuss what type of parents / decisions we want to be and make with our boys, and I feel so blessed to have had my particular father as a dad.
I don't know if you will even read this, daddy, but I hope you know you are exactly the kind of parent I want to be. You were/are so good at letting someone blossom into who they are supposed to be and I can see now as a parent what a wise and difficult thing that is to do...to let your kids (encourage your kids) to be themselves, to let their spirits do what they came to earth to do, to take the risks that it requires for us to grow, to try diverse options and realize our opinions and beliefs through the contrast, and so much more.
All those things require such wisdom and strength and trust in God to be able to instill them in others without trying to force your own views/opinions/expectations/desires on them. I admire you so much, daddy, and am so grateful for your constant example. You never told me how to be, unless I asked, but the way you live your everyday life was/is always showing me!
I love you more than all the stars in the sky!
Your Rachel Elizabeth