By Amanda D

(Me with my dad at a petting zoo, circa 1982 or 1983)

One of my favorite memories is from when I was a little girl – I’m wearing a dress that my mom made me, my hair is curly and I’m standing on my dad’s toes. He’s wearing jeans and tee-shirt (a red one with a fish on it that reads “Every man must believe in something, I believe I’ll go fishing.”) and he is dancing me around the kitchen while singing the alphabet song. This is the way that I learned my ABC’s. We danced and he sang over and over again.

Looking back, I see how much I learned from my father. He’s an attorney by trade. He taught me how important education is. He taught me how to work hard and how to play hard. He taught me the importance of being together as a family, too. People always assumed that since he was an attorney, we were well off financially. My dad worked in his own practice, going to work at eight in the morning and coming home at five. His evenings and weekends were always available for family time. Looking back I see that he could have worked for a different law firm and potentially made more money, but that wasn’t as important to him as having time to spend with the family.

My dad is not a practicing member of the LDS church, but he was (and is) supportive of us. He would help my mom to get the five of us kids ready for church. He would lead us in prayers over the food at the supper table. He presided over Family Home Evening. He came to church if one of us was speaking or if it was the Father’s Day program in sacrament meeting. In my teen years, my faith wavered because of this – in my mind, I didn’t understand how my dad, the smartest man I knew, didn’t believe. With time, I’ve come to understand that it’s okay that we don’t believe the same things. He respects what I believe, and I respect what he believes.

There were a few things that my dad did while I was growing up that really showed me that he loves me. One was always coming to watch me perform – whether it was the play I wrote and directed with my best friend in junior high school, church basketball games, or recreation league softball games. He and my mom even came to watch once when I was on a bowling league after high school. Another thing he did was read the books that I was reading. He didn’t always comment on them (whether he liked them or not), but it was something that bonded us together.

My dad expected a lot out of us – responsibility, honesty, respect, kindness, and more. But he always gave us the same in return.  I could not ask for more in a father.  I love him.