Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Thanks Pa!

(This is my dad (Ryann's Opa) chilling with his favorite granddaughter. She's constantly looking forward to her next "adventure" with her Opa and Oma)


Growing up, I had a deep respect for my dad, but I was also scared to death of him (as were my friends). Maybe because of his many years as a state trooper or a military police officer, or his time in Vietnam or just part of his personality, but he can be extremely intimidating. From him, I’ve inherited my small hands, wide feet, love of dogs, water, music, reading and sports. He taught me to be open-minded, to stand up for what I believe in, that very few things are absolute and that the hardest thing to do is usually the right thing to do. He’s a talented singer and guitar player (sounds very much like James Taylor). Growing up in West Texas, we had colossal thunderstorms quite often. When our electricity went out, as it often did, we would light candles and my dad would sing and play his guitar. This is one of my most treasured memories growing up. Thanks Pa! When I think about my dad, there are a handful of moments like these that really stand out.

Growing up, I played every sport that our school offered. Basketball was my favorite. My sophomore year, I made the varsity team, but was demoted to junior varsity after I stunk up the joint after the first game. To say I was devastated would be a gross understatement. I stayed in my bed and sobbed uncontrollably after I found out. My dad sat down on the side of my bed and told me that I had two choices. I could quit or I could show the coach that he had made a mistake. I chose the latter. We had our team practice after school. The day after our talk, every day after team practice, my dad and I would go to the junior high gym and practice for another hour or two. After only a week or two of this, I was kicking ass on JV and moved back up to Varsity. By my senior year, I was voted district MVP. Thanks Pa!

Another time in high school, my dad and I were having a conversation about something or other, and he said something that has to be in the top three if not number one nicest thing anyone has ever said to me. He said that, because of my intelligence and empathy, I had the potential to be the very best of our family and in some ways, I already was. To truly understand and appreciate how profound this compliment is, you would have to know my family: my father (the genius), my mother (the saint and the most moral and kind person I know) and my brother (the golden boy). He probably doesn’t even remember saying it and he quite possibly said something similar to my brother, but honestly, I wouldn’t even care. I still remember the sense of pride I felt hearing those words. Thanks Pa!

The three years after I graduated from high school were a very dark time. I was too immature to be on my own in college and I went completely crazy. I was wild, partied nonstop and made one idiotic decision after another. Truthfully, it’s by no small miracle that I am still alive and not in prison today. I still feel a crushing guilt when I think about the hell I put my parents through. A couple of months after I turned 21, I found out I was pregnant and my boyfriend demanded that I had an abortion and broke up with me when I refused. My mother was so distraught that she couldn’t really talk to me about the situation, but my father was my rock. He talked with me about all of my options (even the ones I wasn’t willing to consider), and talked to me candidly without judging me. Thanks Pa!

A couple of years ago, my dad played me a song and said that it always reminded he and my mom of me. I cry every single time I hear it. Thanks Pa! Here are the lyrics:

Look at You Now by Catie Curtis

There were times there didn’t look like any way out
And we’d all cry when there was no more that we could talk about
None of us knew what we could do
Mostly we were just scared for you

But look at you now walking on clouds
Lining up stars from medicine jars
You’re the life of the crowd
You had to rise above
What bad dreams are made of
Through all the heartache you didn’t break
You went through more than I could take
And look at you now

There were days when everything was going wrong
And your whole life changed as your dreams were broken one by one
I know you’re never gonna be the same
As you were before all that pain

But look at you now walking on clouds
Lining up stars from medicine jars
You’re the life of the crowd
You had to rise above
What bad dreams are made of
Through all the heartache you didn’t break
You went through more than I could take
And look at you now

I can’t even tell you how much I’ve learned from you
Even in my darkest hour you know what I can do
I can look at you now walking on clouds
Lining up stars from medicine jars
You’re the life of the crowd
You had to rise above What bad dreams are made of
Through all the heartache you didn’t break
You went through more than I could take
And look at you now
Look at you now
Look at you now

4 comments:

Kyla said...

Ahhhh, this was so sweet. What a great dad!

Jessica said...

Thanks Kyla! He is!

Jenny said...

This made me cry.

Your dad reminds me so much of mine. Must be a west texas thing.

PS. You're dad is right...you are the best.

Jessica said...

Awww...thanks Jenny! I think you're right...it's totally a West Texas thing.