If it were not for Daddy giving me an example of what to look for in a man, I would not have recognized Brakes as the diamond in the rough that he was almost nine years ago. My dad (in conjunction with Mov) raised me and my siblings with love, joy, understanding, humor, limits, unconditional encouragement, and support. He walked the floor with me night after night when I was a colicky infant (I really appreciate this now). He coached my soccer team even after I informed everyone that you could get a bigger trophy with less running in tee-ball. He taught me to drive when no one else would get behind the wheel with me and he picked out all of my prom dresses. In fact, when I stepped on the hem of my blue taffeta ball gown the morning of prom, Daddy drove around all morning trying to find someone to hem it for me. When he couldn't find a seamstress, he spent 3 hours stitch-witchering it just in time for my date to pick me up at six.
Daddy watched me go from chubby baby to gap-toothed kindergartner. Under his roof, I went from awkward adolescent to hot-shot, fake-ID carrying freshman. Daddy introduced me to Janis Joplin and CCR and he smiled when I drove Mov crazy by wearing vintage clothing and sequins. He only raised his eyebrows when I went off dancing with the girls all nights of the week. And when I met Brakes, he supported my leap of faith and honored my choice to follow Brakes to Utah. When I was ready to throw in the towel and move home, Daddy was the one who set me strait and a little over a year later, he happily walked me down the aisle. Daddy has always been my biggest fan, my most-honest critic, and my best sounding board. Now, as I watch Brakes be a daddy, my only wish is that he and Eloise can have the same closeness I've been blessed to have with my daddy. And that someday, Eloise will call her daddy the greatest man she knows... other than her Grandpav, of course.