Oh, this'll be easy, Scylla.
He's been ever-present in my decade of storytelling here, so that shouldn't surprise anyone. He was passionate, pragmatic, highly skeptical and, though he'd never admit it, an idealist. He was the best at what he did, whatever it was, and he could do anything (except run his business like a damned business, a deficit I clearly inherited). I wouldn't say he made me feel as though my existence was to be celebrated, but more that it was a gift to be appreciated. It took my parents nearly 20 years of "trying" to produce me (and only me), so there was no doubt in my mind that I was appreciated, but it was not a free ride. Both Mom and Dad admitted that trying to produce me had been challenging, but also a lot of fun, so "don't get a big head over it".
It was clear from early on that I would take after him, not mom. I loved getting my fingers in, and was curious about, every damned thing. I provided the perfect excuse for Dad to haul out his inner child, and for Mom to proudly proclaim she had two children, born 50 years apart. "Hi, Kids!!!" was her daily affirmation of this. Until I moved away to graduate school, he was my constant companion in chaos. Years later, I would have the great and nervous pleasure of hiring him to help my design team. I didn't reveal our relationship (the company president knew) until people started thinking it was impossible for two people to be so very odd without sharing genes. I am my father's daughter.
It was bittersweet when Alzheimer's took him away. Bitter in that the magnificent man who'd raised me was fading away, but sweet in that the little boy inside was playful and happy to the very end. He was the best playmate I'll ever have.
My ex-hubby is pretty cool, too. I don't know what he saw in me and if you ask him now, he won't know either. For the dozen years we were together, he was a reliable sounding board and tolerant of my odd sense of humor. He was self confident enough to be an idiot in broad daylight, taking pressure off me and endearing him to my father (who paid him handsomely to marry me, and demanded the money back at our divorce). I received bittersweet news just this morning. He's been promoted to nearly C-suite level in his company and will be relocating, with his family, to the Twin Cities. I've been "Aunt Maddy" to his four kids, and co-confidant to his wife, so this will be a serious loss for me. I may finally have to make good on my promise to start hosting get-togethers for friends and neighbors, as my parents did when I was young. It's difficult, it's exhausting, I don't like it, but it's good for me.
Mac (my pseudo adopted, 25yr old asshat) is making a big difference in my life. There appears to be nothing I can do to stop it. I blame Dad for starting me down this road by caring for him when he was little. I can't forget seeing Mac sitting in his lap when he was barely two, while Dad read books to him, and watching Dad haul out his inner kid for a third lap around the joys of being a child. Like so many of the remodeling projects Dad started and never finished, I'll pick up the hammer and saw and keep working on Mac. To his credit, Mac, like every other man who's important to me, tolerates me. Maybe that's all it takes to be special to me?
In SL, @Parhelion Palou has probably made the biggest difference. He doesn't know it, he won't believe it, and we can all laugh at how he did it. Years ago, he gifted me the "Li'l Devil" avatar. That's all it took, but he was the one to recognize and act on it. His inner child (he has the male "Li'l Devil") saw the potential and I'm powerless to resist it.
@Beth Macbain Dad first saw Mom at a bar (Dirty Helen's Sunflower Inn) in Milwaukee, in 1947. He told his buddy "That's the woman I'm gonna marry." Two weeks later(!), she proposed to him. Four years later (?!) they married.