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Daddy's Girl This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Throughout my life many people have influenced me, including my mom, teachers, pastors andfriends, but the one who has had the greatest influence is my dad. Many mightsay, "Of course he has, he's your dad," but he has also been much more.He has been a teacher, a coach, a mentor, a friend and aprotector.

Growing up, I watched him sacrifice his time and money for thegood of our family. I realize I took much of what he did for granted. Since he isa man of few words, I became accustomed to his actions, which speak louder thanany words. I will never forget the birthday cakes decorated with his specialtouch, the poem he wrote me on my tenth birthday, all the Valentine gifts thatseemed to shout, "I love you and don't you ever forget it!"

WhenI was younger, it was obvious to everyone that there was a special bond betweenus. Today it might not be as noticeable, but those who know me well know I amstill "Daddy's girl." I have learned what self-respect is from him. Hehas made me believe that I am beautiful, inside and out. He has instilled in methe confidence to know that I should be treated with respect by guys and neversettle for less. With his integrity, he has shown me how to love, how to be acomfort, and most important, how to be a Christian. My dad has been a father thatall girls should have while growing up. He is the kind of man I hope to marrysome day.

Ever since I was very young my dad has supported me ineverything I do, including gymnastic and swim meets, school and church programs,band concerts and marching contests. I cannot remember him missing a singleevent. One remains vivid in my memory: my first gymnastic meet. I was a shyfive-year-old, and absolutely petrified. My parents learned right before my turnthat the judges were taking off points for gymnasts not going completely off theend of the mat. So, my dad stood at the end of the mat so I would run to himafter completing my tumbling set. My dad knew, as he still does, that if I seehim I will run straight into his arms.

I recently came to the end of myhigh-school swimming career. Swimming has been the best part of high school forme. I not only love to swim, but I have enjoyed the support of my teammates andcoach. Unfortunately, the last swim meet did not go the way we had hoped. So whenit was over, I was really disappointed. I escaped the locker room filled withcrying teammates and went straight to my dad where, wrapped in his arms, I foundthe safety to release my tears.

As I have grown, I have seen him strugglewith letting me go little by little. Seeing him do that and knowing how hard ithas been has given me a special admiration for him. He knows that for me tolearn, I have to do things my own way. I know he would love to have spared me thehurt or heartache that may come with many of my "lessons," but he givesme the freedom I need to grow. I always know that he is there for me whenever Ineed him, and that will never change.

There's no doubt that I have learneda lot from my dad. I know that I am lucky to have grown up with the support andsecurity that he, and my mom, provided. And although I will never stop needingeither of them, I feel ready to move on with my life, confident in who I am.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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