The snow is measured in feet and it’s winter in Buffalo. It’s the weekend and I’m around 7-years-old, my parents are trying to figure out  what they’re going to do with their three kids. It’s freezing outside and cabin fever sets in quickly with three kids all separated my two years of age. I’m pretty sure my parents first thoughts waking up that morning were, “what can you do to tire them out enough?”

My dad always being the ambassador of fun got all us kids ready to go trek outside and brave the snow that most would probably hide indoors from. The people of WNY are a different breed. If you stayed inside every time the weather was less than desirable you’d be pretty bored, or miserable, unless being cooped up is your kind of thing.

Anyways, out into the cold we went, with three layers of warm clothes all squished into our snowsuits. Boots that were bought a size to big to allow room for the extra socks you would layer over your feet, just in case one layer got a little wet. Excited to be out of the house I remember jumping into the freshly fallen snow and disappearing beneath it. Wondering what we were going to do after the normal snow ball fights and trying to run as fast as you could through the snow got old. I asked my pops what the plans were.

“Were making igloos today,” he said.

We spent most of the day creating tunnels through the snow to make secret passage ways to our igloo castle. We scooped and shoveled as much snow as we could to make sure we had enough to make our ice castle. He showed us how to pack the snow in so that it was sturdy enough to stack and explained the importance of making sure the tunnels were crafted with enough thickness so the walls wouldn’t cave in on us.

Though the cold was beginning to finally settle into our bones nobody wanted to leave our masterpiece to go inside, even if Mom had called out she was making hot chocolate.

I’ll never forget that day with dad, building our igloo and letting our imaginations run free. Sitting in a pile of hallowed out snow with my brother and my father enjoying our work in silence with smiles on our faces.

Dad you’ve always shown and told me I could do whatever I wanted. You taught me many lessons about surviving on your own and without some of those life lessons I’m not sure I could’ve made it out on my own at such a young age without them. You taught me that I should never settle for anything less than what I wanted to achieve, that it wouldn’t just be given to me. I had to want to succeed and focus on what needed to be done to accomplish that goal. You’ve never been a man of many words but you showed me the importance of allowing your actions to speak for themselves.

You taught me to never start a fight but to finish one. You taught me the significance of lefty loosey righty tighty and the importance of always staying hydrated when you know you’re going to be doing a lot of drinking. I know how to change a tire and the oil on a car, so that when that one time I blew my tire out at 2:30 a.m. I knew what I needed to do and didn’t call you freaking out.

You taught me what I needed to know and you did it so I would have my best chance when I got older, gratefully it has paid off. I don’t know what I would be like if I hadn’t had you for all those years I spent under your roof. I miss the days when I’d see you every day. Who knew years later I would miss it. I couldn’t wait to be on my own years ago, another trait I inherited from you, independence.

So thank you Dad, from the bottom of my heart I love you. I’ll always be your daddy’s little girl. Happy Fathers Day!

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