We had pancakes for lunch today. You know the kind. They come in a plastic bottle. You add the water into the mix and shake until it's mixed up. So of course my mind went back to those days when we were all home and we danced around the kitchen taking turns shaking the bottle and singing, "Shake, shake, shake. Shake'a them pancakes!" It reminded me of the simple joys of my childhood. I'm not sure how you managed to raise all three of us kids by yourself, but somehow you did. I now know some (I'll never know all) of the things you sacrificed for us. You could have given up fighting for us, and your life might have been better for it. But I'm so thankful you didn't give up. We never had a lot of fancy things, but I never felt like I missed out on anything. You made everything fun. I remember the days when we'd go to the grocery store, and you'd set a budget, usually $100. We shopped carefully and stood with bated breath as the cashier totaled it all up. We didn't know that we couldn't afford much more than that for groceries. To us it was just a game. I'm sure there were times when you worried about money, but we never knew it. You never took time for yourself. Anything you did was with us. We went fishing and played board games inside, and ball games outside and cleaned the house, and listened to the radio, and went for walk-- and we did it all together. Any reference to dynamite in the water pipes, an Amish train that was "just for looks" or paper mache, can make our whole family laugh until we cry. Those are the memories that can't be replaced. I hope you never look back on those days with regret, because I don't. You are the best dad ever. If I knew then what I know now, I would have been much more grateful at the time. I hope that I can be half the parent to Jaxon that you were to me. I know that one day he'll probably ask to do something, and I'll look at him and say, "No, no, no!" in the tune of Beethoven's Fifth. He'll probably roll his eyes and ask, "Whyyyyyy?" in that whiny voice that kids have. But I hope that inside he smiles and is happy that I'm his mom, the same way that I did when you sang it to me. Because I'm so happy that you're my dad.