I am in awe of my dad, Paul. I was laying in bed yesterday morning thinking about nothing in particular, and then my thoughts turned to my family. We are all so different, and when you put us all together it creates the most amazing dynamic. I want to focus on my dad. My dad is very intimidating, if you don't know him. Once you talk to him, he's a giant kitten. He's always been involved in automotives. His father owned a automotive repair shop, and he basically grew up there. He was repairing cars when he was very young. He even had a stint as a race car driver. He fought in Vietnam as a Navy Seabee. The only time I've ever seen my dad cry was in Washington DC when he was looking at names on the Vietnam memorial. Even then, it was subtle. When he came back from Vietnam he went back to racing. He was racing alot on Sunday. He started thinking that there was probably something better to do than racing on that day. He started going to church. He served in the Hamburg, Germany mission when he was 24. He met my mom there. The Mission President asked him to write her as a "retention project" since she was a very new convert. He sure retained her. Once he was married, he started his own business. He bought a franchise or two of "Snap-On-Tools"-the best tools in the world. American made and of the highest quality. Dad is very patriotic. He'd do anything for his country. He supports it in every way. He specifically looks for products that are American made, keeping money in this country. He does like European cars though. Volvo's especially. It's all about quality. He worked hard for our family. We rarely saw him. He was up early and came home late. He even worked on weekends. Occasionally he would show up to our Little-League baseball games. That was a real treat for us. He sponsored our teams as well. Sometimes on Saturdays, he would take a break from working on his truck and play catch with us. I loved those times.
Growing up, I didn't really appreciate my dad. I didn't understand his way of showing that he cared about me. I was the only girl among three brothers. My dad is a man's-man. He didn't really know how to relate to me. I remember thinking that he wasn't a very good dad. He was never there for me. And when I tried to talk to him, he just didn't get me. He was all business with me. Of course I was young and immature at the time, and you don't really understand why your dad isn't like the dad down the street that brings flowers to his young daughter and tell her that he loves her on a daily basis. "I love you" was only said on birthdays. He just was never there!
But now I understand my dad. I'm mature enough to see that he has intense love for me and my brothers. He might be rough in his voice, but the love is there. I realize that he shows his love through what he does, such as supporting our family, making sure we were all well fed and clothed. He made sure that we had music lessons, and were involved in sports and the arts. He made sure that we all had an opportunity for a college education. He made sure that we had vehicles to drive. He encouraged and supported my three brothers and I on missions. Recently, I have really needed his advice on certain things in my life, and have really appreciated his fix-it attitude, and the fact that he just wants to get something done about it. I've needed that. Now, to me, he's the most amazing dad a person could have. When I was laying in bed, thinking about him, tears started welling up in my eyes. I was overwhelmed with love for him. He has taught me well. He has greatly contributed to the person that I am. Now that I'm 29, I don't really need a dad as much I did when I was younger. So he's there as a great friend.
I want to share a good story about how cool my dad is. Matt Eyring (Elder Henry B. Eyring's son) was in my ward in Massachussetts a couple a years ago. He was talking to my mom telling her how awesome my dad was. And then he said, "I wish I had a dad like that". No lie! True story! That's MY dad!