My Dad by Amber Cordero
My story with my Dad begins in 1988, in Lyons, Kansas. I was the third child for my parents, and definitely a surprise. My mother had her tubes tied after my second oldest brother and they thought their family was complete. Seven years later, God had other plans, and I arrived as the only daughter. My brothers were seven and nine at the time. My parents, albeit surprised, were over the moon. They had dreamed about having a little girl, and God helped that dream come true in his perfect timing.
My early memories of my father include rolling around on the floor playing “roller crusher” where he would roll along the floor and over me, being extra cautious to not actually crush me. I loved this game as a child! We would spend hours laughing as he came barreling toward me. My Dad was also the one who would paint my nails. I loved sitting on his lap in his brown recliner as he patiently granted my request to paint my nails, whatever color I had decided for that day. We were always best friends. We would sit in the living room on beanbags, just the two of us, while Mom was working and the boys were out with friends, watching TV and eating Vienna Sausages on saltine crackers. We shared hundreds of bowls full of popcorn and grapes (not mixed) in my elementary years. He was always engaging, and loved to play whatever I was in the mood for, whether it was Barbies or hide and seek. Summers were spent going to the pool, running through the sprinklers, and selling lemonade on the curb outside our house that my Dad and Mom
Faith On Every Corner
helped me make from the Country Time lemonade mix. God bless those people who paid a quarter for lemonade! In elementary school we were members of a nondenominational Christian church in town. Once the preacher left, there was a lull where, to be honest, we didn’t attend church much. However, in fifth grade, I discovered how much I enjoyed going to the Lutheran Church with my friend and my parents followed and stared attending Christ the King. In high school and part of college, Dad and I even sang in the church choir together. It was wonderful worshiping the Lord, with my Dad beside me. Evenings growing up were spent eating a home cooked meal as a family, and thanking God prior to our meals for sustaining us with bountiful blessings and allowing fellowship as a family.
In my middle school years, I became involved in Choir and Theater Arts. With those, came hours of concerts and productions that my family endured to support me. I cannot ever remember a time when I looked into the concert hall or auditorium and didn’t see my family. Even though my parents worked full time, they came to every production that I was a part of. The awkward middle school years were paired perfectly with the numerous compliments my Dad gave me to help build up my self-image and self worth. He has always echoed his pride in me throughout my life, which has helped drive me to push further. My Dad and I spent countless hours discussing life lessons such as the importance of honesty, integrity, and accountability. He always told me that once he is gone, he wants people to be able to say, “There goes a good ol’ boy”. His actions and words have mirrored his belief in the importance of being honest, accountable, and having integrity in everything he does. In high school, my Dad also attended every choir concert and church presentation that I can remember. He drilled in me the ideal that you can achieve whatever dream you have if you work hard enough. He taught me many things in life like the value of hard work, being responsible, timely, and working hard to support myself so that I would not need a man to support me. When they bought me my first car, he spent time showing me how to check the fluid levels, how to replace the windshield washer fluid, how to use a jack, how to check tire pressures and refill them, and how to replace a tire. He taught me lessons regarding having a car like, “it costs just as much to keep the top half full as it does the bottom half”, as one of his favorite “Dadisms” goes.
Some of my most dear and favorite memories are of him and I singing together during our family karaoke nights. He helped develop my voice as soon as I discovered the gift of song in the fifth grade. He has worked with me through my Britney Spears days, through Martina McBride, and on to current hit country songs today. I cherish the moments when we sing together. We have special duets that we sing together such as “Build Me Up Buttercup” and “I Told You So” that make my heart so full when we sing them. He has tried to teach me how to harmonize, and has thus far been unsuccessful (haha). Another beautiful memory I have of him is the look on his face when he saw me in my wedding dress. The memory of his reaction still brings tears to my eyes. Our dance together at my wedding was another wonderful memory that I will always hold dear, as we danced to “Butterfly Kisses”. This song has special meaning to me, because as a kid, Dad and I would give butterfly and eskimo kisses to each other, and laugh every time we did. I remember him walking me down a long set of stairs down the aisle to marry my love, where my legs were so shaky from fear of falling. Although I was shaking, his legs and hands remained firm and strong as we made our way to the altar.
Today, I look at my Dad and the feeling I get is pride. He always tells me (and anyone who will listen) how proud of me he is, but he doesn’t realize that I am just as proud of him. My Dad is a Vietnam veteran, a strong head of the household who worked every day to provide for our needs and our wishes, a brilliant man with over seventy years of wisdom to share, the most wonderful and engaged Pawpaw to my son, a loving father-in-law to my husband, a caring Daddy to his kids, a wonderful friend to all, and a giving man who would give you the shirt off his back, even if it was his last article of clothing. He is a proud man, and stubborn at times, but that has helped him with his honorable amount of ambition in his life. He is silly, funny, strong, smart, loving, thoughtful, generous, and one of the best men I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I love my Daddy, and although I know that someday God will call him home, I take solace in knowing that one day we will be with each other for all eternity, and I will always have the beautiful memories. Until that day, I will keep cherishing his presence with us and I will keep laughing and loving, and making more wonderful memories with him.