All my life, you have considered me to be a Daddy's Girl. He was the one to coax a smile, share a laugh, say "yes" when everyone else said 'no". He was the one charged with teaching me, the most stubborn student, the unteachable things... to ride a bike, to drive a stickshift, to change a tire. I still don't know how to change a tire though. I considered him to be the essence of strength and compassion while you delivered the rules and consequences. All my little girl life, I was a Daddy's Girl.
But I'm not a little girl anymore.
Now, as a grown-up, I see the world so differently than I did before. Now, it is you I share most of my laughter with, and I treasure those moments. Laughter doesn't come as easily as it once did, so its value is limitless. It was you, knowing my stubborn streak, who let me learn in my own time, make my own mistakes, and comforted me in the fall-out. You taught me so many things, mostly while I didn't realize I was learning. You taught me to listen to my instincts, that when a person reveals his true self, I should believe it, and that sometimes, you have to let go of the people and places holding you back. I learned to trust a first impression, to see others for who they are, and to forgive them when they earn it. I studied you at the make-up mirror applying eyeshadow and the card table shuffling cards and the stovetop while you made cream gravy. I'm good at make-up and cards, but I still don't know all the secrets of gravy though. Yes, you were the bearer of rules and consequence, but I have never once not known where I stood with you in both the bad moments as well as the good.
And now, when someone tells me I'm strong -- when you tell me I'm strong -- I know that this strength isn't from one source alone. The strength of the mother lives within the daughter, and it flows like a river through life, cutting rock and carving majesty, leaving its imprint on this world. And what I've come to know about strength is that it is not without weakness and trial. It is only through the most vicious wind that the strongest trees still stand, and we're still standing, you and I.
So, yes, I am a Daddy's Girl. But I'm a Momma's Girl too. And I'm pretty proud of that fact.