I know you were overjoyed when you found out that mom gave birth to a happy, healthy baby. Back then, I doubt you were allowed in the hospital room while she gave birth. I recall you telling me later in life that you would never let mom be in that much pain again.
(on a side note: there was a reason I gave birth to my own children in a day and age when drugs are plentiful and peace is achievable)
I know you would never admit it, but it had to bum you out a little to realize you would never have a son to call your own. The thing is, though, you could care less whether you tucked in a little boy or girl at bedtime. You just wanted to be present for your child and prove how much you loved every ounce of her.
So I rarely had to think about how to grow up. I simply wanted to impress my hero.
You told me you recognized I was athletically inclined early in life. When you played catch with me in the front yard, I begged you to challenge me. No matter how far you launched the softball, I rarely missed it. Because when I caught it, you smiled.
In high school, you signed me up to participate in an endurance program to help make me faster and jump higher. You would drop me off as the sun rose on the horizon and I would have to knock on the boys’ locker room in order to gain entrance into school. My future husband was one of the boys who welcomed me into their workout group.
I won the state high jump title later that same year. I have no doubt my success was directly tied to trying to keep up with the boys.
Over two decades later, I am part of a group of coworkers, primarily male, whose common goal is to stay in shape. We are a mismatch group of amateur crossfitters who love nothing more than to put ourselves through pain for gain.
Dad, the more I think about how my life began and how you helped raise me, the more I realize it is by no coincidence I continue to push myself not only in the gym, but also in life.
For that, I thank you.