These are the words I would say if I were brave or comfortable enough with emotions to tell them to my Dad.
Happy birthday! I love you old man and I have some things to say to you.
First, thank you for being my father. Thank you for loving me when it was hard, and when I didn't deserve love. I was a major turd for so long in my life, and you still loved me, supported me, and cared for me. I remember once in high school I wanted a CD, back before downloadable music even existed, and I didn't have a car or the cash for it. You told me you would get it for me. The next day I walked in the door, picked up the cd, and went to my room without even so much as a hello or a thank you. I don't think I even acknowledged your presence. Like I said, I was a turd for a major portion of my life.
Secondly, thank you for being my cheerleader. When mom and I would fight-which happened a lot for a season of my life, you were the one I would go to. You would sit and talk to me, and listen, and listen without judgment. Again, I don't think I ever said thank you for that.
There is one phrase you have said to me over and over all of my life, and sometimes, when I think about the day that you are no longer here, I wonder what life will be without those words. Do you know what I am talking about? You told me time and time again, "I am proud of you baby." When I scored a winning goal, you said it. When I studied my butt of and still got a C on all those math tests, you said it because you knew how hard I worked. When I graduated high school you said it. When I got my full ride to college, you said it. For so long, for so much of my life, I have done things, to win your approval and to hear that you were proud of me.
Did you know I used to be scared to dissapoint you? I knew that mom would get pissed and she was the enforcer of punishments, but I was so scared to do stuff wrong because I didn't want to see that look of dissapointment in your eyes when you looked at me.
Finally, thank you for working your ass off and taking crap from your bosses for years, for us. We might never have had the nicest cars, the best toys, hottest fashions, but we always had food on the table, gas in the cars, a warm bed to sleep in, and a place to call our own. You gave up your dreams for mom, CJ, and I . Never once in childhood did we say thank you, or "were proud of you." Dad, we are thankful for you and proud of you.
I am proud to call you my father, and I hope you are proud to call me your daughter.
With all my love,