Dear Dad

It’s been over a week since I have really written anything, and I can’t explain why other than I just needed a breather. Allowing myself that break and just to enjoy the things I love in the moment was very cathartic, not to mention much needed, so I decided not to beat myself up over it. Since so many of my stories and memories surrounding hunting and fishing involve my father, I felt Father’s Day was a great day to pick back up. 

Your father is one of your first role models in life. They help guide you and teach you throughout your entire life. Dads shape us, they mold who we are going to be from the very beginning. My dad’s a big deal in my book. I am lucky enough to have him as a mentor when it comes to hunting and fishing.  I have so many things that I could say, so many stories that I could recall. Instead, I wrote a letter inspired by only some of the many of the things that my father has taught me. 

Dear Dad,

I don’t think you will ever truly understand what you mean to me. You have always been in my corner, cheering me on and supporting me in any way possible. Voice & band recitals, field trips, plays, basketball & field hockey games, gigs; anything where you could come support me, you were always there. You’ve always been my biggest fan and it has never gone unnoticed. One of the greatest gifts you have given me has been exposing me to this world of hunting and fishing. Sharing with me everything that you cherish, having learned from Chet, and you have shared it with me since the day I was born.  I don’t know that I will ever be able to show my thanks and my appreciation for the knowledge, time, support, encouragement, and most of all the love.

Thanks for never making it a difference that I was a girl. You never made me feel less competent than any of the boys that I was stuck fishing or hunting with, and you never treated me any different than them. You always empowered and uplifted me in every way possible. This has shaped who I am not only as a person, but as a woman. 

You took me under your wing, showed me the ropes, and always included me. I remember on so many occasions people scratching their heads, probably wondering why I was coming along on these hunting and fishing trips. You never batted an eye. You always made sure that I was right there, by your side. For that, I am so grateful. All of the experiences that we have shared are priceless, or as you would say, “classic.”

Dad, thank you for teaching me the values of compassion and ethics. For teaching me how to respect the animals that we hunt, and the meat that they put on our table. For all the explanations to the monotonous questions and for making sure that we always knew the “why” behind everything.  Thank you for teaching me how to appreciate the woods and the water in ways that I can’t even put into words. I remember being upset when our outings were not successful and you always redirected my attention to everything that we saw and experienced, showing me everything that nature has to offer should be valued.

Thank you for teaching me that I can’t always be the best, but that I can always do my best.  You were always straight with me, constantly reminding me “sometimes we get ’em, sometimes we don’t”, and always ensuring that as long as I did what I loved in a way that I could be proud of, that was all that mattered. 

Most of all Dad thank you for always believing in me, even when I was not able to believe in myself. You never pushed me to a point of being upset or uncomfortable, but you challenged me to challenge myself. You’re truly one of a kind, and I can’t thank you enough for helping me develop these sports that I consider passions in my life. 

Happy Father’s Day!

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