I've started this post a few times, but the words never seem to flow quite right OR, I can't see for the tears in my eyes. So here is my best attempt at putting into words what I feel for these special men in my life.
Dad - I have to start with you - without you there wouldn't be me! But there's so much more to us than that, isn't there? From the start, we've had a special bond. There were midnight feedings. I don't remember these (obviously), but whenever I hear mom talk about the way you'd sneak in from working the swing shift and pull the late night shift with me, I can't help but feel so loved. There were trips to the hardware store each Saturday - and you didn't even mind if I wore my light pink and white striped overalls with my dark purple and gray striped shirt! There was learning to skate, ski, & wash the car (with the proper technique, of course!) AND learning how to wire an electrical outlet, change a flat tire, and drive the car. There was the time you "busted" my 11year old birthday party. My friends thought we were in big trouble when you came out to see us turning cartwheels in the family room at 1:00am. Weren't we in for a surprise when you showed us up with a cartwheel of your own! You loved me enough to let me be me, but you loved me enough to push me to be the best I could be. You set the bar high in every area. You were there to cheer me on when I succeeded, give me a boost when I couldn't quite reach it on my own, and pick me up when I fell flat. Your love pointed me to Jesus at an early age, and you've continued to encourage me to become more like Him in all that I do. You showed me what to look for in a husband by loving my mama like crazy - it's always been clear to me the special place she has in your heart. Dad, you're one of the most generous people I know. I love you, always.
Papa - I think we've had a special bond from early on, too! It was such a blessing to get to know you early in my life and see first hand how you molded John to help him become the man he is today. You've always been able to make me laugh (definitely a quality you passed on to John!). You make time for others. I don't know anyone else who talks to their father-in-law on the phone for over an hour at the time. I love it that when we're at home with y'all, I often find you reading your Bible at the kitchen table in the early morning. You have a true servants heart, and for that I'm so very thankful. I'm sure I can't even imagine the sacrifices you've made for your family through the years. You've made me feel a part of the family from the very beginning. I really treasure my time with you!
John Berrick Schloss - where in the world do I begin? I feel as though I've loved you for all time, but when I saw you hold Will for the first time, I thought my heart might burst. You are such a devoted dad. Will and Kate know that they are important to you because you make them a priority in all things. To Will you are a wrestling partner, co-lego creator, and biggest fan in all things sports. To Kate you are a dance partner, big wheel pusher, and partner in crime when it comes to getting dirty and having fun in the backyard. We're all three thrilled to see you when we hear the garage door going up at the end of the day (okay, I feel a little relief too! :o). You make the most of teachable moments and you're always ready to have fun. We can rest in your leadership because you're leaning on Jesus. You were meant to be a dad, John. I love living this life with you!
Matt - I just can't let your first Father's day go by without mention. I still haven't been able to hold your precious bundle of boy in person, but facetime is almost as good. You are on the first steps of one of the greatest adventures of your life. I'm sure you've already seen how having a baby changes your perspective on the world (and on how much sleep you actually NEED!). You have always been full of life yourself, so I have no doubt that you and Eli will make memories each and every day. You have got to be one of the best listeners I've ever known, and I know that will draw you close to him as he grows. You will teach him to be strong and confident, to never settle for second best, and to love the Lord with his whole heart, because that's who you are. Enjoy the ride, you're gonna love it!