Tuesday, March 25, 2014

20 Years Ago Today

20 years ago today, God began crafting a beautiful story for my family.

This is the day my Mom said, "I do" to Tony Pate. I was only 5 years old at the time (I have a hard enough time remembering the details of last week, let alone to details of something that took place 20 years ago), so my memories of that day are very vague. But I can tell you that God set our family on a track that has reaped blessing after blessing after blessing.

My Mom and Tony have such a beautiful love story. It's one that I have adored with all my heart. As I watched their love grow over the years, I could only hope that God would bless me with such a precious love between me and my own spouse one day.

I remember sitting in the back seat of the car watching them hold hands. I remember watching them stand in the kitchen and hug each other. I could see their love overflowing by the way they looked at each other. I never heard them fight a single day in my life. It was obvious they both esteemed each other as better than themselves. They loved serving one another. The loved taking care of one another. There was never a day I questioned their love. It's the kind of love you read about in storybooks, and I got to watch in unfold right before my eyes for nearly 20 years.

 I couldn't have asked for a better man to step into our family after losing my Dad in 1993. Since I was only 5 years old, Tony really is the only Dad I have ever known. He is the man who has raised me and taught me so many lessons. He is the man who has prayed for me and fought for me. He is the man who I thought was "so mean" when he wouldn't let me date certain boys in high school and even college. But he is now the man to whom I say "thank you" with all my heart for protecting me and helping me wait for the man of my dreams. He is the man who has given me so much more than I deserve - so much, that I don't even know how to begin to repay him. He is the man that loved my momma with all his heart. He is the man who gave of himself so unconditionally and took care of my Mom until her final breath. He stayed by her side to the very end. I saw their love grow deeper than I ever thought possible in these past 2 years.

I thank God for placing Tony in our lives 20 years ago. I write this with tears streaming down my face. I don't know how to convey how blessed and how truly thankful I am. God knew what He was doing when He gave us the most kind-hearted, gentle, giving, self-sacrificing, loving man to step in and lead our family.

I want to close by sharing a paper that I wrote as a 17-year old senior in high school. Even now, as a 25-year old college grad, I don't think I could write or get the point across quite as clearly as I did then...

"You're the best, Dad!" "Happy Birthday, Dad!" "I love you, Dad!" Everyone has someone to call "Dad." Not me. I was the little girl who had straight blonde hair, was on the skinny side, wore big t-shirts, and had no one to call Dad.

Growing up, trying to adjust to a new step-dad, and still coping with the loss of my dad at age five was a difficult thing to do. I had to listen to all my friends referring to their fathers as "dad" and longed to be able to say that same word. I tried countless times to start calling my step-dad "Dad," but it just never felt right. I finally grew to realize that this desire would never be filled and learned to get past it.

I am no longer envious of my friends when they say "Dad." Just because they have someone to call "Dad" doesn't mean they have a better relationship. To them, "Dad" might mean "the man who is never home," or "the man who is never nice to me," or maybe "dad" is just "the man who works, eats and sleeps." Why was I ever jealous that my friends can say, "Hey, Dad!" It took so long for me to realize exactly what I have. I have Tony. Not "Dad" like everyone else. I'm the one who gets to say, "Hey, Tony!" And to me, Tony means "the man who loves me probably more than I'll ever know." Tony means "the man who would do anything for me." Tony means "the man who took our family under his wing and gave us the best possible life we could ask for."

I finally came to realize that the title you give your father is meaningless.
The man who is your father means everything.
So now, I'm no longer the little girl who has no one to call "Dad."
I'm the lucky girl who has someone to call, "Tony."


Tony, I hope you know how much I love you and how thankful I am to be your little girl. You are one of the greatest blessings God has given me, and I don't know where I would be without your widsom, your prayers and your love. Thank you for stepping into our family 20 years ago today. Thank you for teaching me and guiding me along the right path. Thank you for praying for me and for fighting for me. Thank you for leading our family. And thank you for loving my Mom with a passionate, unconditional love. You have set a beautiful example that I want to follow in my life and in my marriage. Thank you for everything. I love you with all my heart!

your Jordo

"This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."


  1. You are blessed! Most people would do anything to have such a person in their lives. It's wonderful that you appreciate Tony and especially now, you need each other. He really is your Dad!

  2. Beautiful, as always Jordan you have conveyed a message deeply and with heart. Praying for you and for Tony and Brian and Jenna. Praying for your daughter to some day write something so beautiful about your relationship with your husband. Blessed by your sharing.

  3. Sweet, sweet story. One that my daughters can identify with. When I divorced my ex, my girls were one and four (almost five). When Larry and I married they were two and almost six. Two years later their biological father was out of the picture and Larry was able to adopt them as his own. They may not have had a biological dad, but they have a "daddy." The younger one named her son after him and they both love and are loved. That's all that matters. Tony is as blessed to have you as you are to have him. Glad he made your mom happy for almost twenty years and you as well. He must be a really special guy. :)

  4. What a beautiful tribute to your Tony and what wonderful memories you have. Thank you for sharing and reminding us that our actions can and do speak louder than words.

  5. What a beautiful tribute to an apparently very, very special man. I know he feels equally as blessed to have you in his life. May the Lord continue to sustain you both as you continue to grieve the loss of one so dear. Hugs!

  6. Jordan, I've thought about writing you so many times to thank you for sharing your thoughts with us "out here". To quickly summarize, I lost my dad this past fall and have been able to relate to so much of what you have shared. Today though, I just had to share as I have "my Alice", just like you have "your Tony". I love what you wrote and thank you again for sharing all that you do. Take care!

  7. never commented until now. What a special special post..... It takes more to be just a "Dad".