First of all I want to begin by saying thank you for being my dad, I'm so proud to have you as my father. You've taught me many things by living and modeling life for me. There's not a day that goes by that I don't reflect on something from my childhood, that helps me in life today. Yes I know you might not have been perfect and you've even mentioned having regret about certain things but when I look back I can't think of anything that I would have changed about you. To me you were always perfect. And will always be my hero.
You modeled how to live life well. You taught me how to have discipline and self control. How to see the best in people and always give them the benefit of the doubt. How to love, forgive and how to quickly be the first to apologize. You've taught me to live by Matthew 6:33 and Philippians 4:11-13. As well as Proverbs 4:23- to above all else guard my heart. (And that's just to name a few). I still have these constant reminders going through my mind almost on a daily basis and oh how much they continue to help me in life!
You have taught me how to fast and to give God my first of everything; time, money, service, etc... Some mornings when I wake up I can almost still hear you and mother praying over us. I believe those prayers are still at work today. You've taught me to live by faith and not by sight to dream big and have no limits. That healing, freedom and health are a reality and not some distant thing that no one can attain. I've seen many miracles in my childhood days spent living with you. I hold on to those through all that life brings my way.
You've taught me to love, all kinds people, from different races and cultures to different personalities, from people up high to the lowliest of the low. I was privileged to go on missions with you and do ministry along side you. I've seen you invite many people into our home as you mentored and introduced many of them to Christ.
Every Saturday morning you and I had our dates and you told me I could do anything, you encouraged me to follow my heart and pursue my dreams. Although life didn't turn out exactly as I planned, you went against the odds and gave me your blessing to marry an "American". He's been the biggest blessing in my life and it's been an awesome adventure! Thank you for standing by me through this wild life of mine and always being there for me with your unconditional love, support and wise advise.
You modeled a perfect picture of what a marriage should look like. I seriously thought you and mother were absolutely perfect and your marriage never ever had ups and downs. After I got married and started seeing things from a different view I was very surprised and it took some time to get used the fact that you were not PERFECT but human like the rest of us. :)
You would bring mother coffee, flowers, you even managed to surprise her with rose covered cars. And at the same time little things mattered as well, I can still remember all the single roses you would bring home on random occasions, or the little something to say "I thought of you" to mother and us kids. You still do that with your text messages, pictures or phone calls and it always puts a smile on my face to know that you thought of me.
I don't know if you remember the time after a Harvest celebration at church, they were doing an auction and you out bid every man in the room and paid who knows what insane amount of money for a bouquet of flowers, only to prove you loved your wife that much. After you received your bouquet, you gave it to the other man who lost his bid against you. You have the most generous heart, and your handshakes are rarely empty haha. I noticed every time you would get out of the car to give someone a little something or when we had people over, they rarely left without tears in their eyes because of your blessing in one way or another. As a child I felt so proud of having you as my dad.
I could still see and hear the memories of you saying good bye as you would leave for work, just to come back in three minutes later calling out to mother "Оличка поехали со мной, я жду в машине" (Dearest come with me, I'm waiting for you in the car) for no other reason then just to have her by your side. And you always knew she would come. The love you guys had for each other was so real, I always prayed for a marriage like yours. Sure you weren't perfect but you loved and cherished each other and you grew together and those are memories that are engraved into my mind.
In parenting you've also done well! You did the best you could and that modeled for us a patient, loving, kind and understanding father who loved us dearly. I remember the family meeting when you told us, that from now on we give each other a hug and tell one another "I love you" and from that moment on you never stopped telling us that. You always whispered "I'm proud of you" in my ear and I didn't understand or grasp it fully but looking back now, I know it made me who I am today and I still hear those words in my mind often. My goal is to be as great a mother as you were my father. I'm so proud to call you my dad and so happy my kiddos can have an amazing grandfather like you in their life. :)
Haha I remember the day at one of our family get togethers, us kids all grown up, a few of us with our spouses and even kids, sitting around talking about childhood. When I finally revealed the secret to everyone... that I was your favorite child. Only to find out that it's a secret we all had to keep because you told each one of us, that we were your favorite and not to tell anyone! How cleaver :)
You hardly (if ever) raised your voice to anyone, and your discussions as well as discipline were always so calm and respectful, I only strive to be as put together as you were. I heard a teaching on parenting once and it was word for word of how you raised us. You always kept your word and were never too busy to have us be a part of your life. You taught me how to work from a very young age and the gift of minimalism is still very appreciated to this day.
You protected me from the evil of this world, by setting high standards and being firm on certain things and for that I want to say thank you. I treasure all the precious memories we have made together over the years and look forward to many many more. You continue to be an amazing and inspiring father and I enjoy my dates and phone chats with you. Thank you for continuing to speak into my life and maintaining a relationship with me. I love you and respect you and always will.
Forever your, Natashinka :)