I don't clearly remember the first time I met my father in law. I know it was on Christmas Eve. I know I was nervous to meet him and the rest of the family. That was 15 years ago.
I have seen him very clearly since then. Because Bill and I lived a bit farther away, we often stayed overnight at my in-law's house after family gatherings. In the mornings, we would be greeted with pancakes, eggs, and bacon for breakfast. Dad had been up already for a while to let the dogs out and would have started breakfast. Many times he was already back from getting doughnuts at the store. I never knew if this was just par for the course at their house, or simply just him spoiling his new daughter in law. (I'd like to assume the latter).
Dad was Bill's best man at our wedding. There could not have been a finer choice. He is strong....strong in faith, strong in service, and strong in character. He has spent his life doing for others.
As a Marine:
As a Dad:
And as Gramps!
I have video from our wedding that shows Dad giving his toast. It was a gem. His last line was this:
"As you continue to grow in care and love for one another, may it be exceeded only to the degree to which you come to love God more."
Recently I went on a long car ride with him and Mom. About halfway in to the three hour ride, he pulls out his rosary and starts praying. That speaks volumes.
He is truly a man to be admired. I cannot thank him enough for the wonderful example he has given and continues to give to Bill and me.
Today I'd like to wish him a very happy birthday.
Happy Birthday, Dad! I love you.