March 15, 2016

A Manifesto of Appreciation for the Tough Love Dads.

Ruby Lane Photography

To the man that stole my heart from day one, the man that has ruined all other men for me by setting my expectations so high, the man that will always be my favorite, forever holding the number one spot in my heart.

To the men we fall for before anyone else has the chance to try to sweep us off our feet.

To Our Dads,

Thank you for showing us the way that we deserve to be treated. You have raised us to know that we are worthy of respect—more through actions than words.

You have taught us to love and respect ourselves and are the first person to set us straight when you find that we don’t.

Thank you for having a work ethic that not only we can look up to, but that anyone could admire. Your calloused hands and overworked legs are worn as a symbol of the years of work you have put into the family.

You have always taken care and provided for us, having given to us more than we needed.

You have taught us that nothing in life comes for free by working hard day in and day out. You are the embodiment of the kind of work ethic we all should strive for.

You are our Supermen.

Thank you for being proud of us as is, but still pushing us to always be better in your belief that we are always capable of more. Thank you for not offering praise for our mediocre accomplishments.

Thank you for believing in us more than we believe in ourselves, for trying to raise us to not be people who settle.

Thank you for teaching us to have a sense of humor, for showing us how to laugh at ourselves and to not take ourselves too seriously. Thank goodness we were not raised to be sticks in the mud. Thanks for giving us a great appreciation for stupid stoner comedies and teaching us that we will never be too old to spend a day watching cartoons.

Thank you for showing us that inner beauty shines brighter than outer beauty.

Thank you for worrying about us and for not being the type of parents who didn’t know where we were or what we were doing. We hate(d) this when we were teens, because we wanted our freedom so badly. We yearned to not have to ask permission. We resented you for it at the time, but now we are grateful for missing that one party that got busted by the cops or we may have otherwise ended up as juvenile delinquents.

Thank you for never being the kind of parents that just didn’t care—you have always been concerned about us and have always at least tried to keep us in line.

Thank you for always trying to steer us in the right direction, but never turning the wheel for us. Instead, you guided us with advice that would teach us to steer on our own.

Thank you for letting us make our own mistakes, no matter how difficult it must have been to watch at times.

Speaking of wheels, thank you for teaching us to drive. For entering the death mission which was to teach an overly confident 16-year-old girl how to operate a vehicle. Despite the tears (from me) and the anger (from you) that this task came with, thank you for risking your life to try to make a decent driver out of me.

Thank you for raising us to be the women that don’t need a man.Thank you raising us to be self-sufficient and to not depend on anyone but ourselves (I am still working on the self-sufficient part).

Thank you for not raising us as “Daddy’s little princesses”—but for instead opting for the “suck it up buttercup” method. As many times as it made us cry and made us think you were the Grinch, we thank you for it now. We thank you because we are the women that are stronger than the princess types, the women that can handle the crap that the world throws at us.

Thank you for being the leather to mom’s lace. While mom provided me with all of the emotional support and love that I needed, you were always there to push me to be a little tougher than my sensitive heart was accustomed to being.

Thank you for not thinking everything we did was great, since not every idea, project, or thought is going to be a winner. As I’ve learned about myself through much trial and error, only around 17 percent are winners. So thank you for not letting us grow into delusional adults that believe we are amazing at everything we try our hands at.

Thank you for making your praise mean so much, since you only offer it when you truly feel that it is deserved.

Thank you for always taking up such passionate interests in our hobbies. You were even more than the cheering dad on the sidelines—you were the (sometimes overly) passionate coach, the one that offered us with more constructive criticism than praise.

Thank you for always letting me make my own decisions (and mistakes) in my adult life. I know you don’t agree with a lot of my decisions, but you let me go through with my ideas anyways.

You let me live and learn in my own way.

Thank you for being an example for what I should look for in my future mate, and for teaching me that it is socially acceptable to take a nap anywhere.

To the man of few words that has taught me so much.


~ The girl that is a much better and tougher human for knowing you.




Author: Emily Cutshaw

Editor: Renée Picard

Image: Ruby Lane Photography at Flickr 

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