I came into the world about three months earlier than I was supposed to. My teenage parents were told that their two lb. 11 ounce baby probably wasn't going to make it. My dad ran, fell to his knees and cried out for God to save me. Three months later I was home sleeping on his chest so he could make sure I was breathing.

That was a lot for a young man to handle, so much responsibility, but he stayed. He worked hard to provide for me and my mom doing hard labor, that he didn't enjoy. He put aside dreams of his own to make a way for us. He simply did what men do. He taught me to work hard and do what needs done.

He was raised in the generation where men were taught to be men, to protect, provide and guide. The life they lived wasn't always glorious, but they rolled their sleeves up and put in the hard work. I feel like society has blurred the lines so much it is difficult for men and women to acknowledge that we ARE different, and it is OK to act accordingly. It is a blessing that we were designed to compliment each other instead of compete!  

That being said, my father also raised me to be a very strong and independent woman. He taught me how men were supposed to act, and how they were supposed to treat me, yet never to depend on anyone but myself. He taught me that I was capable of doing most everything a man can do, but also that I shouldn't have to.

My father was raised with character and instilled the same in me. Our integrity is extremely important to us, we have a moral code. He taught me to be honest, fair and kind. He taught me to pray. If I was being bullied, he taught me to defend myself. If I was cruel, he chastised me and emphasized the importance of being kind. The old school values that I don't see taught very often my parents instilled in me. I am so thankful and blessed, because I was able to teach them to my own daughters. They might not always listen, but I taught them!

Although daddy taught me valuable life lessons, and how to be a decent human being, he also stopped to have fun with me. I remember riding on his back through the living room as bucking bull dad flung me off onto pillows.  

We would go to the lake and he had me convinced that every time I saw a ladybug it was the same one.  He named her Alice, and to this day I think back to those days on the shoreline waiting for Alice the ladybug. I still call them Alice if one lands on me!  

He cuddled me when I had nightmares, took karate with me, he was at every dance recital and play. I remember being swirled in a blanket and taught about centrifugal force, (My own spindle-top ride, ah the '70s and '80s) and many horseback riding lessons.  

One time in particular I remember when the horses decided to act up. I was little, on the horse sideways as it spun and pitched, I held on for dear life, feet barely fitting in the stirrups, yet he made me get my shaking behind back on that horse. He said if you don't face your fears now, you won't ever get back on!  He would tell me to cowgirl up. That is what dads do. They teach you how to live in a world that doesn't love you like they do. That lesson has been applied many times in my life.

My father is like a fine wine, he get even better with age. He is handsome, kind, generous, and would fight a bear for me. I still haven't found anything he can't fix or do. He and my grandfather run an auto repair shop, my grandfather is in his '80s and still works full time as a mechanic. That is the cloth my father is cut from.

I don't know if there has ever been any man on this planet who has loved me like my father, and I don't know if that's even possible. I literally couldn't explain what he means to me or list all of the things he has taught me, but I will say that I would not be the woman I am today without the guidance of my mom and dad. My father is the truest most tangible example of God's nature and unconditional love for me that I have ever experienced.  I'm 42 years old, and still think he hung the moon.  Daddy, I love you, Happy Father's Day!