A Daughters Memory of her Daddy

My dad – he would have been 100 years old today. I selected this picture, even with all its early 90’s film flaws, because this was his happiest moment after his Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) diagnosis. It was his 70th birthday party – a surprise party. He didn’t know his friends were waiting in a restaurant in Leavenworth, WA, and that I had made the trek across the Cascades mountains to be there to celebrate him.
I was adopted in my dad’s later years, and I think I am blessed for that as he wasn’t preoccupied with getting a career started, or making the transition from a young bachelor to a family man. He was already settled and established and ready to take on being a daddy with all the love, wisdom, protection, and magic he could generate. His ways of keeping magic alive for me, especially at Christmas, are legendary. One year, after my parents had divorced, he came to get me for the weekend. I may have been around 6 or so. The house was uncharacteristically bare of the usual decorations right after Thanksgiving… which was odd. He took me to the Nutcracker that night, and when we returned a few hours later… The house was like a winter wonderland. Decorated from outside to in complete with presents and his beloved real flocked tree.
Or the time, maybe when I was around 8 years old, I started getting a bit rebellious and proclaimed… “I’m going to stay up all night to see Santa!” Not missing a beat, my dad removed my full-length mirror off the back of the door and positioned it in such a way that I could see the Christmas tree from my bed. As hard as I tried to stay awake, I wasn’t able to keep my eyes open. When I woke up, the Christmas tree lights were obscured by a large object… I made my way to the living room to see a twin-sized canopy bed had been constructed and left in front of the tree! To this day I can only imagine what he had to do to get that put together quiet enough to not wake me.
Aside from learning to build things in silence or roping your BFFs to decorate your house in 2 hours… He was a warm and loving man who taught me about entrepreneurship, caring for people and animals and gave me the gift for loving travel. It was my daddy who took me to Disneyland for my birthday and introduced me to Disney. Some of my best memories of him are still that one visit we made together so many years ago.
He lost his battle with AML less than a year after this picture was taken, but he is still teaching me lessons about life. He was always giving me meaningful gifts. Things that would mean something not just for today but would continue through my lifetime. An example is the two books below with inscriptions and lessons that have carried me through life.
He has been gone for 29 years, yet he is in my thoughts every day, and the moments that made life magical for me as a child still live on in my memory like they were yesterday. I miss you daddy.
in the “Lifes Little Instruction Book”
In ” A Fathers Book of Wisdom”

Beci Mahnken is Chief Magic Maker at MEI-Travel & Mouse Fan Travel. With more than 23 years in the travel biz, she is a frequent guest on many travel and Disney community podcasts including WDW Radio, and partners with other great travel creators like LaughingPlace.com, AllEars.net and RoyalCaribbeanBlog.com. She was recognized by Travel + Leisure magazine as the Super A-List Agent for Disney travel and serves on their Earmarked Advisory Board. Beci has long worked with the Disney fan community to help support fan efforts and create high-profile events and has a passion for supporting deserving charities with a special emphasis on animal welfare efforts. She has a love for exploring history, ocean cruising, and river cruising and served on advisory boards for the prestigious GTM event and TravelAge West Magazine. Beci's dedicated to her craft of sharing the magic of travel with anyone who will listen.

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