Dear Dad,

Where do I even begin? Words can't truly describe how much you mean to me and how much I still need you in my life. But here it goes. I'm going to try to explain the magnificent love you have poured into my heart over the years; over the course of your tenure in fatherhood.

You are a jack of all trades and probably one of the smartest men I know. Dad, you were my first love and my first teacher. You taught me how to take my first steps, drive my first car, solve my first quadratic equation. Sure, there were times when my dramatic personality and loud obnoxious screams drove you nuts, but still, you were always there.

Our daddy and me nights each month still bring a smile to my face. It's also something my husband and I have decided to pass on to our children. A legacy of sorts. It's so neat to see our daughter's eyes light up when she realizes she gets that time with her dad. It reminds me of just how special a father's love is.

Though childhood is magical and carefree, there were more serious times when I needed you as well. Like when I found out I had scoliosis and need to wear a full torso brace for 24 hours a day. The doctor's appointments wouldn't have been the same without your steadiness. You kept us calm and optimistic even when the doctors said my curve was getting worse and I needed surgery.

After my surgery, you had to drive us out of New York City with minimal bumps, jerks or sudden stops. Of course, Mom was fearful that something would go wrong and a bump would jeopardize my body's ability to fully recover from surgery. But you did it. We made it out all in one peace, without any drama. You were so patient and calm, like in so many other high-stakes moments throughout our lives.

You continue to do this today. When life gets fuzzy and I'm about to lose it, your calm steady spirit relaxes me.

Just the other week our raised garden box completely broke and hundreds of pounds of dirt were all over our patio. Within 15 minutes you were there helping us brainstorm how to fix it. Just your presence made me feel better.

Not once do you complain. Not once do you ever seem bothered by my questions or my pleading for help. You have always lovingly offered yourself. Thank you.

I also needed you when I was diagnosed with a benign yet potentially aggressive desmoid tumor two years back. Your steadiness, your prayers, your optimism did not go unnoticed. It kept me going.

I still need your encouragement. I still need to hear you say, "Lauren it's going to be okay."

When you email me every anniversary of my scoliosis surgery you don't realize how much that means to me. When I hear you say, "I'm proud of you," or "You are an awesome mother," my heart immediately overflows. Those words are priceless coming from you.

No doubt, moms are needed. They are nurturing, loving and give themselves without expecting anything in return. Yet there is something special about a dad's love.

Dad, you are strong. You are the calm in the midst of life's storms. You are a leader. Someone filled with wisdom and knowledge. You are funny, witty, engaging and courageous.

It's true, even though I am in my 30s I still need you.

When faced with challenging life situations, financial decisions or unexpected household drama, you are often the first person I call. I don't know what I would do without you. I know it's not just me who needs you. It's so special to see our children's eyes light up when they hear "Bop" is coming over. They treasure time with you.

I know there is a special place in your heart for your kids. A place where you feel proud to be able to help your children. Even if we are capable adults! Dad, I want to honor you for all the years you have honored me. I see you. I recognize you. I cherish you!

Thank you, Dad.


Your (not so little) girl