To my dad,

From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Because you have shown me the essence of a real man. You have carried the epitome of a devoted father and husband for many years, and you continue to do so. From as far back as I can remember, you have dedicated so much of yourself to the well-being of your family.

Raising children is a tough job, but you and mom took on the task of raising nine of us. Though you may think that much of your hard work has gone unseen, all that you have done for us is evident in the beautiful lives that we are blessed to be living—lives built on your (and mom’s) selfless sacrifices. 

You and I may not have always been the closest growing up, but there are certain moments that I still hold dear to my heart to this day, like how you'd take me to get a slushy every day after you picked me up from school even though you had to be at work shortly after. I remember all the moments that you selflessly pushed aside the battles you were dealing with just to see us smile.

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When I look at my husband, I see the same similarities of a devoted father and husband.

One thing you made sure of was that we were always taken care of. You endlessly poured (and continue to pour) into our family with the love of a committed father and husband—even when you were stretched thin and burdened beyond what our eyes could see or our minds could understand.

Sure, mom was within arm’s reach most of my childhood as she tended to the household while you worked long hours away from home, but the way you both balanced each other built my understanding of a loving and healthy marriage—especially after kids. Because of that and because of your steady presence in my life, you unknowingly showed me what to look for in a man. And as a result of your constant love, I believe that I am blessed with the best husband and the best father for my child.

When I look at my husband, I see the same similarities of a devoted father and husband. Of a man who would do anything for his family despite the unpleasantries that life may throw his way. I see the tiring days and the long nights that await him, yet the way he still fills the house with laughter and unending love. And for this, I am grateful.

As a woman with her own family now, you and I have had the opportunity of experiencing a new dynamic in our relationship as you watched me become a wife and a mother. You have also taken my husband under your arms, loving him as your own, especially since his father passed away. I am grateful that he, too, gets to have you as a father-figure in his life.

Because I know the lasting effect of having an active dad. More than ever now, I am grateful that you have played a substantial role in my upbringing, teaching me and protecting me the best way you knew how. And because of that, I look forward to the bond that my husband will build with our son and the way that their relationship unfolds over the years.

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Because I saw those qualities in you and witnessed the unwavering love between you and mom, I was able to resemble that in my own relationship.

So to my dad, I am lucky to have you as my father. I am full of gratitude for all the things you have taught me, and for the fact that you showed me what to look for in a man. A selfless, patient, devoted, understanding and loving man. Because I saw those qualities in you and witnessed the unwavering love between you and mom, I was able to resemble that in my own relationship.

And now, as a result, I am building a beautiful life with my husband and our son. I look forward to the traditions they build and the ways my husband teaches our son to be a kind and respectable young man. Because one day, if he so chooses, our son will have a family of his own. And I want his significant other to see evidence of the love that he was raised on. A love that has been passed from generation to generation. A love that will forever stand.