He cuddled me when I had bad dreams in the night and never made me feel bad that I was interrupting his sleep. He would hold my hand while we slept because I was convinced if I was anchored to his big strong form, no monster could pry me loose.
He set his watch faithfully to come in to check on me at night..every ten minutes until I was sound asleep. He spent many nights in the emergency room with me when I had horrible ear infections and fevers as a child.
He taught me to be a competitor, to work hard, to stay the course. He knew the right thing to do and did it...even when it wasn't convenient or particularly pleasant.
He took me on piggy back rides every night of my childhood, from our living room couch to my bed, where he would read story upon story to me, never seeming to be bothered by the fact that I was getting bigger and more difficult to carry, never faltering in his commitment to reading for sometimes an hour or more in the evening...I'm sure he could have been doing a million other things.
He never missed work, he never complained about his lot in life, he always fulfilled his promises.
He sat with me every night with a stopwatch to make sure I brushed my teeth for the recommended time.
He stuck with my mom when she went through some very difficult times.
He stuck with me when I was a big fat teenage idiot.
He stayed up late to make sure I was home safely.
He attended every swim meet, dance recital and play.
He celebrated every victory and cried with me at every defeat.
My dad was the epitome of a committed, loving, loyal, ethical, dad.
And I love him.
As he is getting the hang of retirement, his health is not good. His legs don't work like they ought to. His energy is not what he would like. He has pain virtually everywhere, every day. And yet, when he plays with his grand babies, you would never know.
His doctors say he shouldn't even be able to walk, but he does and he smiles through the pain, razzing Kya, snuggling Wyatt, chasing down Caden...patiently awaiting his newest grandchild.
When Kya was born, he had just been through a horribly botched eye surgery, one for which he was never willing to sue. He was in excruciating pain, caused by pressure that built up so high it damaged and destroyed precious eye tissue and eventually his cornea...but, he showed up at the hospital, nearly doubled over in pain, because that's the kind of man he is. He wanted his daughter and granddaughter to know that nothing would keep him from us...nothing.
And that's why I love him.
He is predictable beyond measure, confident to a point of humble arrogance because doing the right thing your whole life makes a man that way.
He is my dad. And for that, I am most thankful. I love you Papa Mac!