Where to start? Since I was 10 you were my step-father, but you were way more than that, and frankly, I can't imagine what my life would have been like if you had not been a part of it.
Sure, in the beginning it was hard, what are the chances of the preacher/headmaster marrying the organist/music teacher... in 1976, it sure was scandalous!!! But all scandal aside, after the first couple of rocky years and after leaving Savannah it was all good. You introduced me and my sister to horses, and my love of them has never waivered, and carried on to the girls as well. You took care of us as if we were your own. We didn't see our real father very often, and even when we did, he wasn't much of a role model. He was fun, you were the role model, the person we looked up to.
Anyhow fast forward many years, and I'll never forget the summer we moved to Woodbury, GA from Hilton Head Island. I was devastated... I thought you had ruined my life, when if fact, you saved it. In HHI, a lot of us were starting to go down some wrong paths...but in Woodbury the armpit of GA, there wasnt a wrong path. In fact, there wasnt a path at all - just good clean fun, a house to roll here in and there (including our own once), and cows... lots and lots of cows (cowtipping is a real thing too). So, here 35 years later, Thank you for moving us to BFG, literally.
Thank you for giving me my first real job with Blackbaud, even though it was an accident at first, I had no idea I liked computers so much. That ability is still present today, and my knowledge started there, in a little office in Atlanta, GA, and although I was in administrative support, we all knew my real title was Director of Happy Hour(s) :)
Thank you for loving my girls the way you do and did. Their eyes would light up every time you were around. I'll never forget when you met us in Florence and took baby Madi by yourself back to Charleston for the weekend. Madi loved you like no other, and you were wrapped tighter than a tick around her every finger. Please tell her I miss her when you get there. Not a day goes by that I dont. Squeeze her as tight as you can and tell her I love her soooo much. Hannah loves you too, but you and Madi had something really very special.
Thank you for taking care of mom when she was so sick. I'm not really certain how all all of that escalated so quickly that last night, but I know you did all that you possibly could for her. Please tell her I miss her too. I often think if she were still here, Madi would have been too. Although Madi also had Toots wrapped around her finger, she was terrified of her as well. We all were actually. Again, please tell her I love her and hope y'all all have a group hug. I cant believe it was 12 years ago yesterday that she left us.
I know I've left out a million things, but I wanted you to know how much I appreciate all you did for me all the years. I love you.
Anyone can show up when you're happy. But the ones who stay by your side when your heart falls apart, and can help you put that mangled thing back where it belongs, they are your true friends. I have this man, we are this family. I am thankful and blessed.