Thank you for placing the stars within my reach

Me+and+my+parents+at+an+MSU+game

Chris McCarty

Me and my parents at an MSU game

To my dad,

90s rock songs were made for late-night drives.

More specifically, a late-night drive that was fueled by gas station caffeine and Kurt Cobain lyrics that we were playing so loud, we threatened to blow mom’s speakers. A late-night drive that was beginning to infringe upon prime trucking hours, the moon secure in his spot in the sky. A late-night drive from Columbia, Missouri.

I’m as sure of that fact as I am that I got all of my best traits from you. 

I got my sense of humor from you, passed down from father to daughter in a way that annoys mom with our incessant jokes.

And I started this column with every intention of using some all-encompassing metaphor, but I don’t quite know how to sum up nearly 18 years of parenting into one comparison. For the first time, words seem to be failing me. 

The one thing I do want to say is thank you.

Thank you for celebrating each victory with hugs and declarations of how proud of me you are. And after the high has dissipated, thank you for listening to my tear-soaked anxieties as I tear myself apart over a May 1st deadline that weighs on my mind. 

You have given me a home in this nest you and mom have created, weaved it together with love, reminded me that there’s always a spot for me here within the twine, but given me the tools to spread my wings regardless—pushed me to make a name for myself and to keep going.

Thank you for pushing me to follow my dreams, for helping me realize the things I can accomplish, and thank you for reminding me that no matter what, you’ll be a phone call away no matter where I end up—no matter what state I end up in, you’ll always pick up. 

Thank you for celebrating each victory with hugs and declarations of how proud of me you are.”

You’ve pushed me to the fullest extent, validated my emotions, wrapped me in feelings of pride, and watched every episode of our favorite sitcoms on the cream-colored couch that resides in our living room. 

You’ve taken every variation of my dream career and supported even the silliest of notions, spinning me around on your feet in our kitchen when I wanted to be a princess and driving eight and a half hours when I knew I wanted to be a journalist.

You’ve spent the past 17 years of my life preparing me to venture out into the world—things like how to drive a car and how to hold chopsticks—and thanks to you, I’m prepared for the life I want to live and what the world has left to throw at me. 

Above all else, thank you for being my dad.