1. Daddy’s Little Girl by Janet Walkow
Personal heroes – we all have them, but sometimes it takes time and perspective to recognize the people who change the path our lives take, affect the way we approach conflict or help inspire us to be all that we can. For me, the choice of a personal hero is easy.
Of course, to me, you’ve always been the best Dad and the best engineer in the world. You’re a quiet, unassuming man – the type of person whom children and adults want to be around. You embody a role model in many ways. An accomplished musician, you played the clarinet and enjoyed it thoroughly, no matter if you were attempting a children’s song or a jazz classic.
As a father, I cannot imagine anyone who could rival you. No matter what, you were always there for me – soothing hurt feelings, helping me solve problems and encouraging me. Every idea I presented was treated with respect and you constantly encouraged me to explore new areas and be an original thinker. I can remember the times you taught me how to make a cane fishing pole, ice skate in reverse, use power tools, drive in a parking lot, change a flat tire in the dark, and how to put top spin on a tennis ball. We share a close bond and I fondly remember going for runs together, where you always managed to ask me open-ended questions, so I would do all the talking. Good move. You taught me that I could accomplish anything I set out to do, provided I went into it with my eyes open and with all my energy. When I entered the workforce, you gave me valuable advice on dealing with issues: never go to your boss with a problem, unless you have a proposed solution.
Now, I sit by your bedside, holding your hand, snuggling against you, telling you stories and reminding you that I love you for always. Your only response is a raised eyebrow and fluttering eyelids. I know you hear me and this means the world to me. This morning when I showered I don’t know whether it was tears or water streaming over me. When I ran this morning, I thought about all the times we ran together around the Bellaire track. My sweat and tears fell onto the treadmill, opening up an empty place in my heart. I suppose I’ll fill the hole in my heart with my love for you.
Any accomplishment or recognition owes its roots to you. While you never would have labeled yourself a feminist, you provided an environment and the encouragement by which a girl could not only dream, but also attain her dreams and develop leadership skills. Thank you, Dad, for being the word’s best father, friend, mentor. My personal hero. I’ll always be your little girl. I miss you.