She Always Made Me Happy…
by New Times Staff - Wednesday, November 13th, 2013
…and still does

Editor’s note: Voices is a weekly column that provides a platform for Central New Yorkers to comment. This week, we have an appreciation of a daughter by a father, Greg O’Donnell. If you’d like to submit a column, email Larry Dietrich at ldietrich@syracusenewtimes.com

I want to say some wonderful things about a girl that has helped herself in so many ways I can’t begin to say how proud I am, and how happy I am for her, my daughter Elise.

Her mother and I separated when she was 5 years old, but she always had a dad and mom on her side. When she was young, she and I would go on vacations to Florida, New York City, Ocean City, Md., and many other places. She’s always said how much she appreciates how we do things together, even if it’s just hanging out together or with friends.

I didn’t have much money for material things, but I always tried to show my love and tried to make her happy and help her learn that the best things in life can’t be bought.

It didn’t matter if we stayed home, ate pizza bites and chocolate milkshakes for breakfast or went out to eat, we always had fun.

There were the early teenage years that all kids go through, but when she was about 17 or 18, she went right back to the fantastic person she is now. She always made her life as good as she could with what she had. Elise bought her own car at about 18 with her own loan and money. Then, she went to Onondaga Community College and bought her own house at 22, with her own money. I did some small renovations, and she has a nice little place with her future husband. She went to Syracuse University for a visual and performing arts degree and worked part time to pay her bills and wants to take care of the SU loan herself. She is engaged to her longtime boyfriend, who treats her the way she wants, and they get along so well it make me so happy that she’s happy.

After she graduated from SU this year, at 28 years old, it took her only a couple weeks and she landed a full-time job doing graphic arts, because she knows how to get what she wants or needs and is not afraid to try. She is pregnant with her first baby, my first grandchild, a boy, and I can’t even begin to say how happy and proud I am of my girl.

Elise, her grandpa (my dad) and I spent lots of days fishing together, and three generations is so much fun. Her grandpa passed away a couple years ago, and that was tough for me and her, but she still loves to fish with me and thinks about her grandpa all the time. I can’t wait to take my grandson and her fishing so three generations can keep hanging out and doing things we love.

She has shown me and the world that it doesn’t matter if you have both parents at home, lots of money or any of those things, as long as you believe in yourself and have people behind you who care and love you. I’m sure there are others out there like my daughter, but I think she’s one in a million.