To the Man I Call Dad:
It’s been over 31 years since that day you welcomed your second child into the world. Maybe as a warning of things to come, the weather was not that great for a South Carolina winter. Still, you were there. The birth of a son to carry on the family name. How the relatives must have been thrilled. “They named him John”.
Carrying on the tradition of many Taylor men before you, my younger years saw you balance work with family life. Having little to no time to consider “you time” between business trips, baseball games, soccer practices and games, boy scouts, and Saturday morning tennis out at Ball Park Road. You taught me how to field a ground ball, how to properly hold a tennis racket, and at a younger age than most, how to use Microsoft QBasic.
As I grew older, you taught me about the value of family, and the honor in the family name. You taught me about our history, and the great people in it. You explained the birds and bees to me, taught me about the inevitability of death. Even when life became more tumultuous in my middle and high school years, you were there for me. You taught me about standing up for myself without resorting to physical violence. You taught me that it was okay to be broken. You taught me that being a man sometimes meant not taking the easy way out, and facing my fears.
Importantly throughout my life, you lived the example to me about what a good dad is. What it meant to be a dad, a provider, a guide. You showed me that the love of a dad doesn’t know any boundaries. As you watched me struggle with depression and later with addiction, you showed me that no matter what, your love for me never ended. You struggled with me and fought for me. In recent years, you showed me how family stops at nothing to support one another. Through my diagnosis, treatment, and beyond, you never hesitated to pack up and make the drive.
You have been my adviser and guide; a source of strength and courage. Firm, but fair, and the example of a real man in my life. You showed me what it means to put family first and to not be afraid to step out of my comfort zone to do what it takes to support my family now. You have loved me without end, and without limitation. You have loved me with a real love that has resonated in my heart for 31 years and counting.
This Father’s Day, I want you to know that none of that has ever gone unnoticed or unappreciated. Even though I know I haven’t done my best to show you what you mean to me, and how I appreciate what you have done for me in my life. I thank God that you are my father. That you are the one God chose to raise me alongside mom. I am thankful for intense talks about life and manhood, and silly conversations about cartoons, Star Trek, and West Wing. I am thankful for Saturday morning tennis, the overnight hotel stay during one of sis’ sleepovers. For Gatorade stops and for teaching me how to mow the lawn. From meeting for lunch at the hole in the wall chinese place, to accepting me back into the home at the age of 21.
I thank you for always being there for me, even when I gave reason not to be. I praise you for your commitment to your faith, your God, and your calling for your family. I give thanks that I have a dad in my life like you, who did what it took to raise his two children to the best of his ability, never lost hope, and never gave up. Thank you for who you are, and all you mean to me and to our family. For many years to come, I’m sure I will be looking to you for advice and looking to your example when I think about how to be a better father myself. I love you Dad.