Happy Birthday, Dad!

Well… I had a different topic planned for today but the pictures for the post are MIA so we’re changing it up.

Since today is my dad’s birthday and we’re remarkably similar, I thought I’d highlight some of my favorite traits that I got from him which I hope to pass down to my kid.

I’m not kidding when I say my dad and I are similar. His name is Kenny and he shares that name with his father so K calls my dad KJ or Kenny Jr. (usually just to me). When I act like my dad, K calls me KJJ. Before we knew if this baby was a boy or girl, K gave it the nickname KJJJ. I kid you not, that’s what she’s called in our pregnancy app. Lol

My dad and I think similarly, learn similarly, argue discuss politics with each other similarly. We carry our own burdens and the burdens of others similarly. We mostly have the same humor & sometimes we say the same thing at the same time. We often spill food on our shirts in the same place. Lol.

You get the point. It’s no wonder I adopted these ideals and characteristics from him.

Pets are our family.
When I was born we had a family dog. Since then my parents have welcomed two more dogs (plus Ly when I lived at home), two rabbits, and five cats. Bristol & Enzo are always welcome at their house. Dad’s also rescued a baby owl, squirrel, and rabbit. Additionally, unless the animal is dangerous or threatening our pets, he traps and releases pests because he knows I value that. My dad felt Lylee’s loss so deeply- damn near as badly as K and I.

Girls can do anything.
I have a little brother. I could have easily been dismissed when he was born. Instead, my dad bought us both four wheelers. He gave us both shooting lessons. He took me camping and trucking. He took me fishing and he’d have taken me hunting if I hadn’t turned him down, lol. I’d give him credit for teaching me to drive stick but that was actually my mom 😉

Forming your own opinions is important & changing your mind isn’t a weakness.
Years ago a friend told me about how her dad’s word was law in their house and she wasn’t allowed to disagree or argue about anything. Another person in the conversation nodded her head in agreement and shared similar stories. Even as adults, they were expected to curb their thoughts and opinions. I can’t relate to that. My parents have never told me how to feel about anything. And if you’ve spent a decent amount of time with my dad and I, you’ve probably heard us discuss/argue politics. I know he takes pride in the brain in my head- even when it believes differently than his. And I’m really proud of my dad because I think he’s changed some of his opinions and beliefs because of things we’ve discussed.

Working hard and breaking your back doesn’t entitle you to a damn thing.
I think my dad might be the least entitled person I know. He went to college, graduated, and jumped into the family business as a truck driver. When the family retired the business, my dad continued to drive independently. His industry is dying and his week-to-week looks different but he doesn’t quit and he doesn’t complain about the unknown. Don’t get me wrong, he does complain about other things but I have never heard my dad complain about being owed anything.
*I actually don’t have this characteristic. Hopefully my kid does.

I can credit my love of history and learning to my dad, too. On top of these things, I hope my daughter enjoys watching old westerns with him and riding along in his semi truck just like I did. My dad is one of my favorite people- and I’m sure it has nothing to do with how similar we are 😉

Happy Birthday, Dad!

(C)Ryan Armbrust Sniper Photo LLC

A Letter to My Children

This week I’ve been inspired by Rebecca’s post as well as The Letter Link-Up with mr. thomas & me.

I’ll start by admitting that I have some irrational or silly fears. These include horses, my dogs being sprayed by skunks, dinosaurs (yes, I know they’re extinct but what if they WEREN’T?), and someone living in our attic. The last one I have checked multiple times with a knife in hand; our house is old and it creaks.

One of my not-so-irrational fears is how my children will see themselves someday. When I was younger I had self-doubt. I doubted my intelligence, my personality, my weight, my looks, etc. I was very mean to myself (which sometimes led to me being mean to others) and very uncomfortable in my own skin. Terms related to anxiety and depression were tossed around and at one point I thought about running away.

I hate that I once felt that way. I know it pains my parents to now known all the issues I was going through. I love my life now and it makes me sad that at one point I hated it.

That being said, I have this fear that my children might feel this way one day. I will literally do everything in my power to help them avoid those feelings.

Dear Future Kiddo,

You aren’t a thought yet, so I don’t know if you will be a girl or a boy, but it doesn’t matter- we will love you regardless. I hope that you are healthy. Honestly, that’s the only thing I will hope and pray and plead for… You can be bald, tiny, big, whatever. I just hope you’re healthy. And if you’re not, we will figure it out and manage all the same.

Let’s move on.

You are coming into a very turbulent world. This world has a lot of good in it, but it also has bad. The world is filled with money problems, violence, hate, and more. There are babies having babies and children without food or homes or role models. I won’t shield you from these facts- we will talk about them and try to understand them and thank God that we are fortunate enough to be comfortable. I hope that you will learn to extend a helping hand to those that have less than you.

You will have friends and even family members that let you down. It’s your job to forgive, because you will also let people down. No matter what you do, though, your dad and I will always have your back. You will make mistakes and you will have to pay for those mistakes, and you will be in the wrong and we will have to discipline you, but we will always love you and stand by you.

Your dad is going to instill in you the importance of hard work, honesty, and practice. Boy or girl, your dad is going to stick you behind the drumset and coach you. If you hate it then we’ll find something else to work at. You don’t have to be the best, but you should strive to be better than you were yesterday. Not everyone gets a trophy and sometimes you will lose. That’s life. Losing makes winning that much sweeter. That said, winning isn’t everything. Sometimes you won’t be appreciate or recognized for something awesome that you’ve done. Your worth isn’t defined by others- you are always good enough.

Don’t compare yourself to others and don’t compare others to you. Everyone is different and we all have strengths and weaknesses. Spend your time lifting others up, not putting them down. You are a human. A creature. A creation of God. This puts you on the same playing field as a king and a homeless man. You share the same air as a dog and a lion. Everyone deserves mercy and compassion. Respect your neighbors and your pets and the environment- you can’t live without these things.

This next part is very important.

You can tell us anything. Anything. You don’t have to tell us everything, but you can tell us anything. If you are feeling sad for no reason please tell us. If you are attracted to the same sex please tell us. If you are struggling in math please tell us. If you are drunk at a party and all your friends are drunk please call your father. (DO NOT get in a car with other drunk people.) If you are in jail, please call us. If you are addicted to heroin, please tell us. Your problems, fears, struggles, joys, triumphs are ours, too.

I will apologize now because your dad and I will mess up. Probably a lot. But we will love you and we want you to love you, too.

– Future Mom

Maybe someday when we’re ready for kids I will revisit this letter (and probably cry).  Right now it was just something on my mind.

What do you tell your children as far as self-esteem goes? What do you want your future children to know?

-Louise

The Letter Link-up | Mr. Thomas & Me