To the best person I know,
Today is your birthday. The one day where we get to celebrate you. The one day where you get to pick where you want to eat and the type of wine we drink. But really, we should be celebrating you every day.
For as long as I can remember, I have always been daddy’s little girl. Heck, even the employees at United Dairy Farmers called me your “princess.” We have always had a special bond, one that led you to give up on giving toasts at dinner or praying longer than usual prayers because you can’t keep it together. But trust me, you are not alone. I am so in awe of the husband, father, grandfather, brother, friend and CEO (to name a few) that you are that it’s a good thing I am behind a screen writing this letter, otherwise everyone would see my ugly cry. My tears are a reflection of the impact you have had on my life as well as every one that you cross paths with. In my entry “Joy Comes In the Morning,” I mention that people are missing out on life if they do not know Dan Meyer and I couldn’t mean that more wholeheartedly. I’ve had friends tell me that they are only friends with me because you are my dad and if that is true, I couldn’t blame them.
When you were younger, you had a hospital scare that could have killed you. The doctor’s didn’t know what to do, but God did. He knew you would be a faithful servant to His kingdom and the doctors found a cure for your disease on Easter day, when Jesus triumphed death and rose from the grave. You have a scar to remind you that God doesn’t make mistakes. He didn’t want you in heaven because He needed you to build His kingdom on earth. And you are doing just that.
You are 60 years old today. I know that you’re a little terrified. I’m just glad I have your genes because you don’t look a day over…. I’ll give you 41. But seriously, you’re still the stud you were when mom married you. And you like to remind me that your biceps are bigger than any man I know, you can out lift any of my guy friends and you don’t have man boobs, you have pecs. I feel fortunate to see what you have accomplished in my 25 years and starting two companies as well as a non-profit isn’t even putting a dent into what you have done.
Dad, you have changed lives. You have made people better. You have given others hope. I remember when you made me work on the assembly line at your company, Nehemiah Manufacturing Company. Yes, you made me. You are the CEO and you could have allowed me to work under you, to learn from you. Instead, you wanted me to get into work at 7 am every day, standing on my feet (literally) until 5:00 pm and tape boxes, fill orders, or watch product go down the assembly line. Even though I wasn’t happy with you, I saw how much you truly are impacting the lives of your employees. There was one woman, Gina, who didn’t know who I was (the CEO’s daughter), and started talking about “The Mr. Meyer.” She told me that she had been living on the streets and no one would offer her a job, but you did. She told me that for the first time in her life she felt like she had a place to call home and people to call family. She told me that you were her family. You came down a little later to shake people’s hands (something that is a routine for you) and I watched as people’s faces lit up when you asked them how their day was going. You then came over to me and kissed my forehead. After you had left, Gina told me that I have the best dad. She couldn’t be more right.
I could go on and on about the amazing person you are and all you have taught me in this life. I could describe the days we shared when you coached me in basketball or when you would announce my high school games and forget to turn off the microphone. Everyone could hear you scream “Dude, take her to the hole!” Or how you gave me the nickname “The Dude,” and when you gave me my own basketball jersey for Christmas, with my last name and favorite number on the back, you made me autograph it and sign “The Dude,” that is framed and hung in my bedroom at your house. Instead, I can wrap up just how amazing you are in one moment. A moment I will cherish forever. A moment that you, yet again, taught more more about life than any book or class ever could.
It was a moment before I moved back to Cincinnati. I had come in town to look at apartments. We stopped at your office because, well, Nehemiah is your mission and you have devoted your life to it. I remember walking out and looking back at your building, just standing there. I started to choke up thinking of how God is using you. I asked, “Dad, do you ever look at this place and think, ‘Wow, look what I have built?”” You didn’t even look at me or stop in hesitation. You simply kept walking and in a calm voice said, “Never. This is all God’s work and has nothing to do with me.”
You, dad, are the 2016 version of who Nehemiah was. It is only fitting that God put it on your heart to name your second start up after an old testament prophet called by God to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. You are rebuilding Cincinnati, one life at a time, and I couldn’t be more proud to be Dan Meyer’s daughter.
I love you more than you will ever know and I cannot wait to celebrate you. I hope I can make this day all that you have made every single day for me for the past 25 years of my life; filled with nothing but love, joy, support, and of course, laughter. You truly are, The Man.
With all my love,
Your baby girl, AKA, The Dude