“Any man can be a Father but it takes someone special to be a dad.”
I thought while Ken was stretching Ryan, I would post an update for father’s day. When I think of father’s day I can’t help but think of the two most important fathers’ in my life, my Dad and my husband.
To my dad…until we are grown we never fully realize how wonderful our father is. We simply take for granted each sacrifice he makes for us in his own loving way. I can’t begin to tell you the many, many things my dad has done for me my whole life. And continues to do. I know I can always call him up and he will be there. Anything I need, he will do. Sometimes I have to laugh when I think of how many times, my dad (and mom) helped me move from apartment to apartment, delivered mattresses from Pennsylvania, carried couches, made my favorite cucumbers, watched my many pets, and even adopted a couple. He’s shared some of the best moments in my life, and comforted me in the worst, but without a doubt…he was always there. He always believed in me. And Dad on this special day, I want you to know I will always be “daddy’s little girl” and you will always be my hero. I love you!
To my hubby…It is impossible to put into words what a remarkable father Ken has been. Throughout our marriage (it will be 25 years next month), Ken’s top priority has always been family, and especially his role of “dad”. The excitement in his eye’s when he watched the birth of our children, that same excitement when they first said “Daddy”, and how I still see that same excitement now when Kari still says “Daddy”. Throughout the years, Ken has devoted his life to the kids. “A father is someone who carries pictures in his wallet where his money used to be”. Ken left a very successful career to be a stay-at-home dad. He never once looked back or felt he missed anything. Quite the contrary…he saw himself as the luckiest man in the world. He got to stay at home with his children. He spent countless hours on the fields with both kids. Ken coached little league, softball, girls & boys basketball, and football. Anything to be close to the kids. He couldn’t get enough of it. And the kids felt the same way. One of the most special things about their relationships is how much they enjoy being together. Kari loves spending time with her daddy. The two of them laugh nonstop. She is the glimmer in his eye, his “little girl”. And Ryan looks up to his dad with so much pride. When Ryan shared his dreams for the future with me, he always led with “I want to be a dad, I want to coach my kids”. He wanted to be a “dad”. Yep, just like his “dad”. I also can’t help but think back to the summer of 2009 (our last summer before the brutal attack). A typical day for Ryan was spent working at his job, working out with his dad, evenings with his friends, then coming back home late at night and jumping in to our bed to share his day, talk sports or tell funny stories, before he went to bed. He was 19, yep 19. And then there was the family vacation in Bethany Beach. We spent a week at Ken’s Aunt Doris’ trailer, a few miles from the beach. The best vacation of our lives…we spent the days at the beach, evenings eating way too much food, and played mini-golf daily. Ken and Ryan also went to the public basketball court near the beach for some one-on-one, until Ken went up to block a shot and came back down breaking his ankle. While you would think this would have put a damper on our vacation, it didn’t. Ryan and Ken now had a story to tell…especially the part that Ryan still took the shot and made it! This never slowed Ken down. We still went to the beach and he even played mini-golf. He took Kari shopping and played Frisbee tag. A week later, he moved Ryan in to his first house in Morgantown carrying heavy furniture on that same broken foot. He always put family first.
But, then our world came tumbling down…. and once again, Ken was there. “We Got This” he said. He held me in his arms, our bodies shaking uncontrollably and tears rolling down our eyes, “We Got This”.
I go back to the quote at the beginning… “Any man can be a father but it takes someone special to be a dad”. This was (is) the test of his life, but Ken never once hesitated. His son and his family needed him. Now…more than ever. I could never have imagined the degree Ken would be willing to go to for his family. Every day, yes, every day… Ken works with Ryan. He talks to him, he holds him, he kisses him, he works out every inch of his body. Ken can barely move his left hand and his back is in constant pain, but this doesn’t stop him. Not at all, he goes on. Ryan needs stretched, he needs his therapy. “We Got This” He stays with Ryan 24 hours a day. He makes us laugh. He spends hours researching and learning everything he can about the brain. And he takes amazing care of Ryan. Ryan has his teeth brushed every two hours, he prepares the most properly balanced and healthy diet you could ever imagine for Ryan. I could go on and on. But to Ken, he’s just being a “dad”. That’s what a “dad” is and I love him with all my heart. Ken…. “We Got This”…. Happy Father’s Day!
And to all the special dad’s out there… Happy Father’s Day and thanks for all your support and love!
All my love…