It was Christmas morning of this past year + we were about done opening presents at my parent’s house. It was my mom, my dad, my sister – Mckenna, Caleb, + I (+ the dogs, of course!). I don’t think my dad had gotten a single present. He happily watched as we opened gifts, shared in our excitement, + then resumed his duties of crumpling the wrapping paper + stuffing it in the garbage bag. We were down to one present left under the tree + still, dad hadn’t opened a single gift. We all knew what was coming, but he didn’t, + that was the greatest surprise : )
You see, my dad is just that way. He doesn’t expect anything. He gives (+ gives + gives), serves others, works really hard … and never expects anything in return. He lives by his little motto that “actions speak louder than words.” I’ve always had a really special relationship with my dad because he has been one of my greatest sources of support + encouragement throughout my life. To put things in perspective, he never, + I mean NEVER ONCE missed a soccer game, dance performance, high school concert … you name it. Even if he was working 6+ hours away that day, he would just get up earlier so that he could be home in time.
I’ve never doubted his love for me. And this had a huge impact on me as a growing woman. I am so thankful for the role he played in such pivotal years of my life + count myself truly lucky to have such a loving, giving, hard-working father figure in my life.
First day of college after moving me in the dorms // Graduating from UW-Madison // Father-daughter first look on our wedding day
Due to some real difficult things that happened in our family over the past year (Dad, I hope you’re not mad that I’m sharing this!), I think it’s safe to say that my dad was a bit exhausted. He had a hard year … and we saw that. Simultaneously, Caleb + I experienced a couple of things — and watched people in our lives experience things — that made us realize, once again, that time is precious. Life is short. You just never know what the next day is going to hold. And we decided it was time to take action based on this reality.
My dad is a Forester but sometimes it’s easiest to say, “He’s a lumberjack!” : ) Essentially, he buys + sells logs … but I’m still, to this day, not exactly sure what that means (sorry dad!). I know that he loves nature, knows A LOT about trees, + his top Bucket List item is to see the Redwoods in California. But … when would that ever actually happen? Would he ever really GO? After talking it over a bunch, Caleb + I decided that we wanted to surprise my dad for Christmas with a family vacation to see the Great Redwood Trees in California this July over his birthday. Mom, Dad, McKenna, Caleb + I. Our first family vacation in a really long time : )
So we gave him that last present under the tree. Inside, a California postcard with an invitation to come stay with us at some adorable B&B’s up the California coast + embark on an adventure exploring those majestic forests. Let’s just say, he was shocked : ) I can’t wait.