On August 23, 1983 both of our lives changed. That was the day we both committed to a lifelong relationship that no man, force or otherwise could break.
That was the day you took on the responsibility of being a mother to a child that you hadn’t quite met, but already loved unconditionally. And in true childlike fashion, I promised to push you to your limits, challenge your every word, and cost you a small fortune. But I also committed to reciprocate the unconditional love you had already provided.
From the beginning you’ve been my rock, my biggest supporter (and my harshest critic), but most importantly you’ve been my greatest inspiration. You’ve helped me grow into the man that I am today, while playing the difficult roles of both mommy and daddy.
You comforted me when my father stopped coming around, had my back when I was almost kicked out of school, held me up when I fell at the hands of anxiety, and stood by me as I battled prescription drug addiction.
You attended every baseball game, every graduation, and supported me through the countless failures that I would endure over the years.
Despite our financial hardships, you never let me see your pain. There were times we didn’t have lights, but your love kept the house lit. There were times we didn’t have heat, but your embrace kept me warm at night.
No matter what how bad things were, I never went without. I remember we didn’t have cookies to leave Santa on Christmas Eve and had to put out BBQ flavored potato chips, and even then, you never let me see how hard you struggled.
You challenged me to be better and pushed me to see my own potential.
You would always tell me, “never look like your circumstances”. That’s a lesson that I still hold dear to this day. Without knowing it, you were teaching me the lessons I would need 20+ years later when my back was against the wall, I hit rock bottom and was desperate for an escape. I called upon those words when I decided to stop trying to take my life and instead fought to save it. You taught me to live as if what I wanted was already mine — and now it is!
You are my hero— my lifeline! You have always been and will always be my Superman and Wonder-Woman all in one. I can’t thank you enough for what you’ve sacrificed for me to be where I am today.
As a father who never had a good relationship with my own, I learned how to be a good parent by being raised by a great one. I can only wish to be half of what you’ve become.
I’m grateful that God chose me to be your son. Despite a difficult start, I am as proud as ever of what you’ve accomplished. You’re a successful business owner, homeowner and inspiration to whomever is blessed enough to speak to you. Your selflessness, courage and strength is remarkable.
On this day and every day, I celebrate you. Words can’t describe how much I love and admire you! Thank you for being the greatest gift God could give!
Originally published at medium.com