Today would have been my Dad's birthday. I miss him.
Growing up, I was a daddy's girl. My dad was a farmer, and he used to let me ride in his pickup with him. There was a light in the cab behind the seat, and he told me it was a nose light, that it would turn on if I pressed my nose to it. And sure enough, every time I did, the light came on. I was pretty sure he was teasing me, but I could never prove it. He brought a lot of fun and magic into my life.
My dad told me stories and paid attention to me. His attitude taught me that I am important and worthy, and that I shouldn't settle for someone who doesn't respect me. Unlike some women, I was never particularly drawn to "bad boys" who didn't treat women well. At the same time, he made it clear that to deserve respect, I needed to be respectful of others, and to be responsible for my actions. A good reputation was earned.
Dad was a devoted reader, and he remembered what he read. He had a working knowledge of more different subjects than anyone I've ever known. Although he was born on a farm without electricity, or maybe because of it, he embraced technology. He was a pilot, a photographer, and one of the first people I knew of to get a home computer. His knowledge of shortwave radio came in handy in his volunteer work in Civil Air Patrol and as a storm chaser. He was also president of the local school board for years and years. And he accomplished all these activities in spite of his natural shyness. He was reserved around strangers, and so only those in his inner circle knew him well. I was lucky enough to be one of those people.
My father was never particularly demonstitive. We didn't say "I love you" all that often. But I never doubted for a minute that I was loved. I wish every little girl could have a daddy to love and support her the way mine loved me.