By Maggie Dunning
He always let his actions speak louder than words. He has always put me first. He loves me unconditionally. He made very specific appearances when I needed his support.
I never spent much time thinking about all the things my dad does for me before. It was startling to realize he’s made my life as easy as he could and I never even noticed before now.
I should start with his timed appearances when I was in middle and high school. Whenever my dad showed up at school, I just thought he was the one who could make it.
I now realize that he was choosing specific times when he thought I needed his presence.
Whether it was to nonverbally intimidate guys or to show that he would be there whenever I needed him, it always worked.
I can’t count how many times guys saw me with my dad and later asked me, “Is that really your dad?” He was my dad and he always remembered them.
My dad is 5’9 and 235 pounds. This may not sound big, but he looks like a grizzly bear. He’s furry all over with a big bushy beard.
His eyes are red all the time from allergies and he never smiles. He works as an electrician so he’s always covered in dirt and grime.
He is intimating to say the least. That is probably why after guys saw him they would avoid me like the plague. I just thought it was boys being stupid. I now realize it was my dad testing to see if any of them were worth anything.
My dad was watching out for me without ever having to say anything.
He did this a lot. Without using words, he supported me with whatever I wanted to do. He never questioned my choice of a major for college. He just congratulated me for graduating high school and getting into the college I wanted.
He bought my favorite snack foods and beauty products without me having to ask.
One memory stands out from all the rest though. When the preteen years hit, I went a little emotionally crazy for a while on occasion before I figured out how to handle the new hormones.
One night I stormed through the house yelling, crying and slamming cabinets and doors because I couldn’t find any chocolate.
I was a wreck. My dad was perfectly calm. He got up from the couch walked in the kitchen rummaged around the pantry for a few minutes.
He pulled out a microwavable brownie, made it for me and didn’t bother me after that. He never asked why I went temporarily crazy and I never had to ask for brownies or chocolate to be stocked in the house again.
Those are just some of the ways he’s let his actions speak louder than his words. However he did have to use words at times.
Whenever I had to learn to do something involving mechanics, crafts, or shop, he would let me learn it. If I got stuck, he would teach me tricks to make it easier to do whatever I was doing.
After I knew what to do, he would give me someone’s name or number to call to for help with manual stuff. He knew I hated doing anything manual or tactile, so he made sure I wouldn’t have to if I didn’t want to.
However the most important thing my dad has ever done for me in my life is love me.
My dad is not my biological father. He adopted me after he married my mother when I was six years old.
That has never stopped him from treating me like I’m of his own blood. In fact I didn’t realize he wasn’t my biological father until high school.
What matters is that no matter what I ever did or said he always loved me.He always showed it and when I needed to hear it he always said it. It doesn’t matter much that he adopted me.
Maggie Dunning is a sophomore majoring in communication. You may email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.