Neil: The Real Deal

As a little girl, I spent hours dreaming of what the perfect man would be like. Barbie had Ken, Ariel had Eric and Meg had Hercules (I definitely had my work cut out for me). The men I was shown as a child were strong, intelligent and loving beyond belief. They were absolutely perfect. Spoiler alert: perfect doesn’t actually exist. And for a five-year-old, those are some skyscraper expectations. Let’s be real, the college struggle exists: most of us Belles are just looking for Beasts to volunteer to put up with our craziness. But the older (and crazier) I get, the more I realize that my idea of the perfect man didn’t come from a Disney movie or a toy company; it came from my dad.

My father is one of the most remarkable humans that you will ever meet. And as daughters (and sons), we’re all entitled to say how great our parents are because not only does it make them feel incredibly accomplished (especially when our GPA doesn’t), but (most of the time), we think it’s true. I’m blessed to know it’s true. My dad has taught me what it means to be a strong, independent woman–one who won’t take no for an answer (unless it’s from him), who can change a flat tire, who speaks her mind (often to his dismay), and who fights everyday to be the best she can be. I am who I am because of who my dad is and how he and my mom chose to raise me. I’m blessed (and cursed) with the highest standards possible for a spouse, and I couldn’t be more grateful.


Happy 55th Birthday, Daddy. You’re an amazing human being, and I am so proud to be your daughter.

As we kick off (football pun[t]) February (the month of loveeeeeee), take some time to identify the amazing ones in your life, and the ones who make you amazing. Look around, and I guarantee you’ll find someone incredible. And if you don’t, go look in the mirror. You are incredible. Strive to make others awesome; it’ll make you (more) awesome, too.

Keep doing you. I know the (wo)man hunt can be brutal, but I promise (s)he is coming. Hang in there, kiddo.



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