For this post, I need you to remember back to Valentine’s Day. Remember the giddy excitement you felt about all the delicious chocolate awaiting you throughout the day, or the special plans you made with that special someone. Or remember how pumped you were to forget the good-for-nothing lovey-dovey holiday and celebrate the centennial of the state that completed the continental United States–Arizona.
On this day of Arizona-statehood partying, I received a special package from my family. They had each sent me a valentine with a much-appreciated love note. I always love gifts from home, but these notes were especially significant to me. I even hung them on the wall above my bed so I could remember that, no matter what, someone out there loved me and thought I was something special.
My dad’s valentine was a simple list of things he liked about me. Different talents I had, (including my disturbing habit of quoting Psych non-stop, of course) different things I’ve done, (like that time I actually ran the 5k he had been encouraging me to do for years) and different attributes I’ve developed as I’ve grown up. There was one thing on the list that confused me, though. “Her mother.”
My mother? Maybe he had meant to put something like “her relationship with her mother” or “how she’s growing to become like her mother” or “the way she knows just the right thing to say that will drive her mother insane.” But, no–that’s what it said.
Anyone can have a mother. In fact, I am willing to say with certainty that everyone who was ever born actually has a mother. (Crazy idea, I know.) Then I remembered a talk Sister Dalton gave a while back. Part of it was included in a clip that I have embedded below for your viewing pleasure.
I remember thinking this talk seemed particularly appropriate for my own dad, who has 3 other daughters he’s responsible for raising. And the most important thing he could do for us is to love our mom? What about teaching me to ride a bike through my 6-year-old tears? Or baptizing me when I was 8 years old? Or introducing me to 80’s music? He’d also taught me how to change a tire, given me monthly Daddy/Daughter interviews, and been sensitive to the Spirit to know when I needed a loving text to get me through a bad day. But even after all that, loving my mother was the best thing he could do for me?
I remember a time when I was younger when I was first introduced to this concept. As a self-proclaimed Daddy’s girl. I had asked him who he would save from a burning building–me or mom. To my surprise and dismay, he chose the woman who carried me for nine months! The little me was astounded at the audacity that MY Daddy had to choose someone other than me. I knew he loved me. I guess he loved that other girl, too, but she was the one who bossed everyone around and always got mad when we would sing “Feelings” to her. (I should probably insert a disclaimer here that my mom is my favorite person in the world. Dramatization of actual events has been used for maximum effectiveness.)
Over the years, though, I have come to see the great relationship my parents have. And even though the mini-Rylee inside of me is still a little disappointed my very own Daddy would choose my crazy mother over me, I’ve come to realize that it truly is the greatest thing he can do for me. My dad has acted as the patriarch of our home and set an amazing example for my sisters and me. I can only hope someday my own children have the opportunity to be raised by a man as amazing as my father (who will love me more than them–suckers!!)
But in all seriousness–my dad is my role model. He is the one I go to for advice, the one I can share goofy Airplane! quotes with, and the one I know is always there to help me when I fall, whether it’s when I’m first learning to ride that bike or learning to live on my own. His cookies are still the best I’ve had, he still wakes me up at the crack of dawn for family scripture study, and he still loves U2 more than anyone I know. My dad is my absolute favorite person, and I am so grateful for him.
And so I write yet another Love Burst post. How grateful I am that my dad confused me with that line on my valentine, and for his fantastic example in loving my mother.