If he were alive, my Dad would celebrate his 98th birthday on August 5. His life made all the difference in mine. I plan to buy him a birthday card even though I won’t mail it. Here’s what I plan to write in the card.
I’m missing you especially today and wanted to say “thanks”, once again, for all you meant to me. You spent time with me playing catch in the backyard, going hunting and fishing, and teaching me how to water ski. You showed me how to tune a lawn mower engine, scrape and paint a house, fix a leaky faucet and wire a broken lamp. I used to think you involved me in these “adventures” because you needed my help, but I can now see you were showing me love by teaching me to solve problems. Of course the ultimate expression of love was when you gave up a promising career opportunity because it was going to demand too much time away from the family. You displayed how a man establishes priorities in his life, and then makes decisions based on those priorities.
I remember the talks we had on the front porch, in the car, on the lake, and in the woods. I never felt rushed in any of my conversations with you. It seemed there was time enough for talk, but also for pauses and reflection. There was room enough for silence. You know how you sometimes feel awkward when a conversation lags and silence hangs heavy in the air? I never felt that way with you. I guess the true test of a relationship is whether you feel comfortable with quiet moments.
After many years I discovered the theme emerging from your life, Dad. Love must be both spoken and acted. Loving words must be accompanied by acts of selfless kindness. Caring deeds need the companionship of unhurried conversation. I’m grateful you lived that in front of me.
Thanks for the example, Dad. I miss you every day and remain proud to be called your son.