I have been writing in a journal that a friend gave me when my Dad died. Trying to preserve all of my good memories that I have.

I knew growing up that I came from a special family. My parents were very involved in all of our activities, and I was always fond of Dad’s sense of humor. Over the past several weeks, I have been remembering the various traits about Dad that made him who he was, and I never want to forget them. Hopefully one day, Griffin and Hayden can read this and tuck it away in their hearts. Here’s my latest entry.

I remember many things about you, Dad. Now that you’re gone, the details are so vivid.

How you would sing “Daddy’s Little Girl” to me with one hand on the wheel, and the other around me as I sat on the “hump” between the two front seats of our wood-paneled station wagon. I can still hear your voice resonate against my ear.

How you stayed up several nights helping me make a lamp for my school project. Of course, you did most of the work. I sat and watched, in awe.

How every activity I had, I could look up in the bleachers and see you and Mom. You didn’t miss anything. Same for your grandkids, as you sat with Mom under an umbrella in the rain to watch Griffin play baseball.

How you sometimes would laugh so hard, you cried. When something was really funny, you took your glasses off to wipe the tears from your eyes. I loved seeing you that happy.

How last year, we were in downtown Indy, and you stopped in at Starbucks to get some coffee. You bought two, and tried to recreate the drink I often order. It wasn’t exactly the same, but I loved that you thought of me.

How you and Mom gave me a watch for my Sweet 16, and you wrote a clever poem inside my card. It stated that the watch was to remember my new curfew.

How you would tease me for always stealing a pair of socks out of your dresser growing up. (By the way, I grabbed a pair after the funeral to remember you.)

How you moved each of us daughters to college, then came home and sat in our bedrooms. Mom told us that it was especially hard on you, knowing we were growing up.

How you were so proud of the cornhole boards you made for each of your son-in-laws. And how you happily made more for our friends when they asked where we got them.

How every winter you would wear your black leather coat and gloves, with a cute “robber hat,” as I would call it. I always thought you were so handsome.

How you couldn’t wait for Griffin to arrive. I called your cell from the hospital parking lot to tell you I was in labor, but no need to come yet. You told me to look to my left, and there you were, with Mom, sitting in your car.

How you came back to see me during the long night of that delivery. I had been hurting, and I could see in your eyes that you were worried about me. I saw the same worry years later, as you paced the halls for Kristen, wondering why the nurse hadn’t given you an update.

How you saved my homemade duster I created for you as a young child. It was made from a piece of wood and shag carpet, and I found it on your workbench the week after you died. It must be 30 years old, but the yarn that spells “I love you Daddy” is still there.

How you would get up on Saturday mornings to buy doughnuts at the little General store down the street, returning home with tiger-tails of chocolate and yeast twisted together. I think of you when I see them in bakeries today.

How you would stare guys down who glanced at your teenaged daughters, and embarrass us when you asked them, “What are you looking at?”

How you would stick your tongue out at your grandchildren, knowing they would tell Mom that “Papaw needs to sit in time alone.” You would laugh and do it all over again.

How you ordered me a book on the internet that you thought I should read to learn more about Griffin’s health problems. The next day, you called to say it was a good read. Turns out, you had ordered two, one for me and one for you.

How I always knew you were sentimental, but realized it even more when I grabbed that pair of socks from your dresser a few weeks ago. Under the socks, I discovered a picture of your late parents, my grandparents, in a frame. It was tucked away for safe keeping, just as I do with my memories of a father who always put his children first.

I love you, Dad.