My Dad

For my Dad, the best dad in the world

Growing up, I was such a Daddy’s girl. I wanted to be just like my dad, so I was a major tomboy. When I was little, I never wanted to wear a shirt around the house, because my dad never did. My dad just wore shorts… so I just wore shorts. I got into my mom’s makeup once, and used the eye-shadow to draw a mustache, because my dad had a mustache. Everything my dad did was so cool, and I wanted to be just like him. He’s my dad… that made him the coolest person on the planet.

I received so many of my dad’s traits. My blonde hair, my blue eyes, and that damn cowlick I hate so much. I also have my dad to thank for my determination, my passionate nature, and my sarcasm.

My dad is an amazing, loving, and supportive father. My entire life, he’s always told me that I could be anything I wanted to be, giving me the confidence to follow my dreams. My dad has never allowed me to put myself down… telling me, “Above all else, be proud of who you are.” Few people are lucky enough to have a dad like that, but for whatever reason, God gave the best dad to me.

I also got my writing ability from my dad. He’s not a “writer,” but he could be, and I love to read his words. Throughout my life, my dad has always written me little notes, in his messy, left-handed scrawl. On those notes, which I still have today, he’d write words of encouragement, wisdom, and love. Sometimes he’d just leave a post-it on my mirror:
“I love you!”
“You can do it!”
“I’m so proud of you!”
“You’re an Owen. There’s nothing an Owen can’t do.”

On Christmas Day, Santa Clause would always leave us a note on the mantle, with hints to help us find our “big” present. I was always amazed that Santa’s handwriting looked so much like my dad’s. I just assumed Santa was left-handed too.

My dad is such a funny guy, and he could always make me laugh, even when I was mad at him. He’s really just a big kid at heart... and despite my mom’s annoyance at this sometimes, I don’t think he’ll ever grow up. In all honesty, he tries to annoy us... He’ll be doing something ridiculous, like whistling really loudly for no reason, and I’ll say, “Dad, could you please stop?” To which he’ll reply, “Stop what?” And whistle even louder. My brother does the exact same thing. Multiply that out by 26 years… and you’ll see why I have very little patience at this point.

My dad loves to travel, and every year, we’d take a big family vacation. I was often annoyed on these trips, because vacation with my dad isn’t always “vacation.” It’s a little like boot camp, in a cool location. It was always: Wake up early, follow the itinerary, go-go-go, see-see-see, etc. But it wasn’t worth it to complain, because then I’d have to listen to Dad say, “Aww. I feel so bad for you. Your dad took you on a nice trip and forced you to do fun things. It’s such a tough life. Your mean daddy should be in jail for taking you to Lake Tahoe.” I couldn’t really argue with that, but I hated when he was right…

As an adult, I can really appreciate those trips we took, because I could never afford them now. And a lot of our favorite family memories were made on some of Dad’s crazy vacations.

My dad is a hard man to argue with, which has been a good quality for him, but bad for my brother and I. In disputes, Dad thought he was right, and Matt and I thought we were right. But lucky for Dad… he was the dad, so by default, he won every time. We soon learned that pouting only works with Mom, because when Dad says “No,” it does NOT mean “Yes.” Very early on, I decided that the words “Because I said so,” were a mild form of child abuse. Now, I’m tempted to say those very words to my dogs.

My mom has always been the more rational parent, while my dad has more of a stubborn fire inside. I turned out to be a mix of both… I’m a rational thinker with a stubborn streak. But looking at my dad now, I can see that he really isn’t that stubborn… he just fights for what he believes in. And if he believes in his kids being home at midnight, then your ass better be in the door by 11:59. I was constantly grounded for being late for curfew, and I’m not quite sure why I couldn’t grasp the concept. It seems pretty simple… if I stay out late tonight, then by the time I can leave the house again, my friends won’t remember what I look like. At the time, curfew seemed ridiculous, but now, I can admit that my dad was right. Few legal things were happening for us teenagers after midnight.

My high school years were a tough time for my dad and I. I was ready to grow up, and my dad wanted me to remain his little girl. He was desperately holding onto my childhood… and now I wish I would’ve held on a little longer too. That was a difficult time for my father, and back then, I couldn’t for the life of me understand him. But now, I can see that he just wanted to be a part of my life. I can also see that his “silly and ridiculous” rules weren’t really that silly or ridiculous. My dad just wanted us to be safe and responsible.

At 16, I thought my dad was over-protective. At 26, I can see that my dad is just lovingly protective over his kids... especially me. I was his first child… his little girl. And suddenly, I was growing up so fast, and he wasn’t quite ready for that yet. Looking back, I remember the pain in his eyes as I told him I wasn’t a “little girl” anymore… and I remember him saying, “But Ashley… you’ll always be my little girl.”
If I could go back in time and change ONE thing, I’d go back to 10 years ago… just to give my dad a hug, and say, “I love you, Dad, and I’m still your little girl.” Honestly, that’s all he needed to hear…  

I’ve watched my dad go through good times and bad in his life, and I’ve learned so much from him through it all. He probably doesn’t even realize how much he’s taught me, but he and mom were the 2 greatest teachers I ever had. My dad’s struggles taught me so much about life and hardship. I watched my dad follow his dream of owning his own business… I saw him succeed… and then I watched his dream die, as the very people he trusted, betrayed him, stole from him, and caused his business to close. That was a hard time for my dad, but he never felt sorry for himself, and he never asked for any pity. Through that experience, my dad taught me humility, strength, and tenacity. I’ve also seen my dad succeed more times than I can count, and through the good times, my dad taught me the importance of following your dreams, remaining humble through success, and always appreciating the things you have. He’s taught me so many lessons, and I honestly wouldn't be me without him.

I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life… many that I was ashamed to tell my dad about. But every time I’ve said, “I’m sorry I disappointed you,” my dad would say, “I’m proud of you no matter what, and you have never disappointed me.” I know he means that, even though I can’t for the life of me understand how, with all the stupid junk I’ve done.

Looking back, I can see my dad cheering on the sidelines at every stage of my life. He, my mom, and my brother have always been there, no matter what. I can see that everything he has done, since the day I was born, has been for me. I can see that my dad often didn’t get the things he needed, just so I could have the things I needed. I can see that he often missed out on the things he wanted to do, just so I could do the things I wanted to do.
I can see that my dad was right about most things, whether I could understand it at the time or not. I can see that he was never trying to “ruin my life,” he just wanted my life to be everything it could be. I can see that he has always been there… guiding me, protecting me, and loving me. I can see that my father has supported me through every decision I’ve made, whether he agreed with my choices or not. I can see him delighting in my successes, and helping me pick up the pieces when I’ve failed.

I can see the joy in his heart for the daughter he raised, and the pride in his eyes for the woman I’ve become. And while I know that he gives my mom full credit for how I turned out, he’s leaving out one major piece of the puzzle. Because so much of me… is my dad…

And so much of my dad… is me…

Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I love you, and I will always be your little girl.


  1. That was beautiful I almost cried

  2. I'm still crying... beautiful!

  3. Very beautiful. I'm sure he's very proud of what you do and what you've accomplished at such a young age.

  4. I know he would be very proud of you!!

  5. you are so lucky to have a Dad like that, it is a true blessing.

  6. What a nice tribute to your dad!! & great pics :)

  7. Beautiful!! brought tears to my eyes. So much of what you said is true. Makes me miss my dad so much. He departed us and is watching over us now from heaven.

  8. I am sure your parents are very very proud of the adult you have become.

  9. A beautiful tribute to your Dad. Someday, when you have a little girl of your own, and watch her grow into a beautiful woman, you will realize the constant worry that comes with being a parent. I think you're already ahead of the game. Bless you both.

  10. Beautiful tribute to your dad, Ashley.

  11. This is the most beautiful blog! My dad passed away 13 yrs ago,I wish I could say these words to him, I was the youngest of 5 kids, and I was his little girl. I see so much of him in myself! Even now as he's gone I still learn from things he's said. He was such an important part of my life, and who I have become. He grew up in Nebraska, on 14 different farms, he had a love and respect for animals, and he made sure we knew and respected them also. He treated our pets growing up like his children, just the way he talked to them. He would remind us that they had feelings, and that they were the best listeners. So now I know my dad lives on within me, he has always been my hero, but now he watches over me at all times, he walks behind me to push me through my fears, he goes before me to clear the path, and always walks with me so I am never alone! I will always be his little girl...thanks Ashley for your blog, made me think alot of my dad, and how much I love him. even though he is not here on earth, he will live forever in my heart.

  12. very beautiful blog!! made me cry! ure very lucky to have such a great dad!

  13. Ashley, this post with your lovely photos and memories of your dad remind me that I too was a total "Daddy's Girl." I'd watch him lather his face and wish I could shave.

    My dad taught me to love dogs (he brought home a little mutt we named Pizza) and to love music, science and gardening. Many thanks to you for writing this!

  14. i feel the same about my Dad, Ashley. (and my Mom was an angel on Earth before she became one of God's chosen angels in Heaven.) Dad is my earthly rock and your words about your dad were right on the mark and i am still misty-eyed. thank you so much for sharing!


  16. This story touched me so much. It is an exact reminder of my own life... down to my dad's business and hardship. My father has given me so much in life, more than he ever had himself. I can never repay him for that. I know I can make him as proud of me as I can. He has never given up on me and coached me the whole way. Thank you so much for sharing. I know exactly how you feel and felt when writing this. To the greatest Dad's in the world. Thank you!


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