This week’s gratitude challenge is to write about why I’m thankful for one particular family member.
I’m finding that to be difficult because there are many for which I’m thankful.
However, since I have to pick one, I’m choosing my dad.
Although he thought he wanted a boy up until the moment I arrived, Daddy and I have been close from the very start.
Once I was out of diapers, I became Dad’s sidekick. I tagged along everywhere. He took me with him to irrigate, on trips to town for parts, and along for the ride when he was driving any of the farm equipment.
By the time I was four, my oldest brother had wed and started a family of his own. Our house was a busy, bustling place for the most part, and it was easy for a little girl to sometimes feel lost in the shuffle.
Dad had a way of making me feel special, and it wasn’t just the candy he plied me with, either. It was the time we spent together. Sometimes he’d tell stories about when he was a kid, other times we’d just listen to his favorite radio station (which varied between country hits of the day, Paul Harvey and the livestock reports, and favorites from the 1950s). Through the stories he told, I learned lessons about life that serve me well today – and I also learned how to tell a story.
I’m sure there are many, many times it would have been much easier for Dad to leave me home than take me with him, but he almost always asked me to tag along.
And while I was doing all that tagging, I learned about hard work, loyalty, dedication, organization (no one can organize a cupboard like my dad), problem-solving, creative thinking, and perseverance.
My dad always seemed like he was in a hurry, yet I remember him taking time to shoot hoops with me in the shop and teaching me how to fish after he stocked our pond with bass. He also taught me how to drive, how to toast a perfect marshmallow, and how to set irrigation tubes.
Once, we were out moving the irrigation water in the cornfield when this horrible rain storm started. Dad tugged me down a row and we hunkered down in the corn beneath the leaves and listened to the rain pattering the ground. While we waited, he answered my many questions about how corn grew, and why the ears had silk, and how the stalks grew so tall.
As I detailed in Farm Girl, we had a lot of fun adventures, but at the heart of it all, I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to spend all that time with my dad.
And I’m grateful beyond words to grow up with a dad who loved me, encouraged me, and continues to cheer me on.