Over twenty one years ago, something big happened in the life of Ron Gallihugh…he had to give up his sports car. And even though he still talks about this car to this day, I know he was okay with giving it up because it meant he just became a father.
Dad, 21 1/2 years ago, I came into this world and you became a father. Over the last two decades, you’ve cracked thousands of jokes, held out hundreds of cold hands, made pounds of spaghetti, eaten dozens of apple donuts, made up a few too many birthday songs, spent loads of weekends in “Fun Fun Fun with Daddy” mode, and loved me, my mom, and my two siblings unconditionally every day.
I’ve realized recently I have you to blame (thank?) for my emotional nature, but also for my big heart. You care so much about every single person in your life, and occasionally, that can lead to tears (sometimes, in front of 500 people), but you own it and I love you for that. Not only do you own your tears, you owned your sweat on your wedding day, and you own every single joke you’ve ever cracked. I may or may not (emphasis on may not) think your jokes are funny, but they are YOU and because of that, I can’t help but smile.
I always give you a hard time for giving me your flat feet and your bad acne, but I don’t ever thank you for giving me my thin hair (which I’m slowly growing to love), my bright green eyes, and the chance that I got to look like my little sister, who is the brightest light in my life. Not only that, but because you passed these genes to me, I get to look like you, which is special in itself.
I can only imagine that living each day without your father here must be hard, and while I wish I had the chance to meet him while he was here on this earth, I know he looks over you each day, proud of the father that you have been to Connor, Claire, and I, and knowing that makes me happy. You’re a wonderful father, Dad, don’t ever forget that.
Out of all the father-daughter dances, House Hunters episodes, and tacky Christmas sweaters, my absolute favorite thing in the world that I get to share with you is our college. When I was in high school, and you suggested I look into Longwood, I can still remember Mom saying “we are not going to be one of those families that makes their kids go to their alma mater.” And then, we stepped foot on campus. I watched my mom fall in love with Longwood, and soon after, I did too. As much as I laugh every time you say “well, back when I went to Longwood…” I absolutely love it because it brings me so much joy that I get to share one of the best things to ever happen to me with my father who has helped me become the person I am today.
So, thank you. Thank you for every time you’ve stayed up all night waiting for me to get home safely (or slept on the couch waiting for me to get home safely), for introducing me to the randomest array of movies you recorded off of your free trial of HBO, and for driving all the way across the state just to have lunch with me and get furniture and suitcases out of my apartment to take home. Thank you for loving the Lord and for loving those around you because of your love for Him. Thank you for being the perfect example of what a good Christian man should be. Thank you for being such a wonderful husband to my mom and such a wonderful father to me, my brother, and my sister.
I love you more than the amount of times you claim to speak French and know how to breakdance. Happy Father’s Day, Daddio.