All little girls dream of their prince charming. I met mine at birth: my daddy. I was blessed with the most amazing parents. My adolescence was built on love, compassion, selflessness, sacrifice, support, guidance, and undying devotion. My dad and I forged a very special bond throughout my childhood. I was the only girl, so naturally quite spoiled. The apple of his eye, I could do no wrong. Visits to Melissa’s Treasure Chest every Saturday for all the Hello Kitty supplies I desired, drives around town listening to Hall and Oates, and trips to Jackie’s Lemon Ice with the neighborhood kids are some of our cherished memories. No one in this world could ever love me more than my father.
As I matured, my dad became my number one confidant and best friend. Gentle and always approachable, he never yelled. He was there to bail me out or rectify any unpleasant situation. He had a magical way of making everything better and brighter. To know my father, is to love him. While short in stature, his vivacious and gregarious personality makes him larger than life. The perfect combination of Frankie Valli and Joe Pesci, he commands a room wherever he goes. Strangers instantly fall in love with his humor, wit, and love for life.
He was that dad that hired a limo for my friends, over indulging us with dinner and fun in NYC year after year. Who needs a wedding date, when you have your dad to do shots with until the wee hours of the morning. Did I mention we were invited to this wedding through a friend and by the end of the reception my father had won over the hearts of every guest?! In between our shots, he was even asked to give the toast!! If you know my dad well, this story won’t surprise you. Joy, lots of laughs, and constant entertainment embody our time together.
He worked hard to provide the best possible life for my mom, brothers, and I, and instilled the importance of education and family. My diligence and hard work throughout college, as well as my dedication to my own family are a direct result of his morals and teachings. I still rely and turn to him for guidance and advice as I navigate through life. I am everything I am because of him and would be nothing without him.
It’s hard to believe that in the next few days he will be 75! He doesn’t look or act a day over 30! I wish I had his energy. He’s unstoppable. He has such an enthusiastic outlook on life and truly lives each day to the fullest. An admirable and positive role model for my girls, they light up when “Pa Leo” enters the room. It’s utterly impossible not to.
75 years ago the world was blessed with a feisty little boy named Leo. 36 years later, I am eternally grateful to call this feisty little boy my dad. You have and always will be the #1 man in my life. Cheers to many more years of memories, hugs, talks, and most importantly, laughs. Daddy, thanks for always making me feel like a princess. You make life worth living.
“A father holds his daughter’s hand for a short while, but he holds her heart forever.”