For me, I did take my dad for granted. I feel like a lot of us do that as teens without realizing we may not have them in our lives forever. Don't make that mistake.

Growing up with my dad, the term tough love is perfect to describe him. There always had to be a lecture. Sadly that was what led me to not be very close with him while I was younger. It is something I will forever regret for the rest of my life. Luckily, I was able to get much closer with my dad once I got into my teenage years.

This is my dad.

One of the other difficult aspects of growing up around my dad was that he was very sick. When I was 10 years old he was diagnosed with tongue cancer, at that age, I didn't really process a whole lot of the magnitude of cancer. As I got older I certainly did. The chemotherapy and radiation to cure cancer ultimately forced my dad to enter retirement at the age of 50. I watched as my father had the simple things in life taken away from him. The ability to eat solid food is one. Thankfully, he overcame that and was able to ditch a feeding tube.

I do have many fond memories though. I can put myself right back to being 14 years old driving to my dads favorite pizza place. I also have incredible memories of making meatballs for special occasions with my father. Car rides to nowhere. Drive-in movies. Bi-weekly trips to rent a half dozen movies at Blockbuster. I got my love of music, radio, and cooking from my dad. Hell, I am a spitting image of my dad.

My father passed away after a year of battling lung cancer in 2008. I was 17. His final words were to me, "I love you bud". I am so thankful for that. As a senior in high school, that was a very rough year. My biggest regret is that I didn't get to ask my dad more questions. I wish I still had him to call and get advice from. I wish I could just sit down, and talk for hours with him. Those are all little things many people take for granted. Be close with your dad this Father's Day. Do it for those of us who sadly don't have our fathers anymore.

Today would have been my dad's 69th birthday, I would like to take this forum to wish him a happy birthday. Hopefully, the Genesee Beer is flowing nicely in heaven for his celebration!

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