Today would be my father’s 92nd birthday. At midnight last night, he would have been sitting on the side of the bed singing “Happy Birthday to Me”. He never lost his childhood spirit and that is something I try to emulate.
My Dad could be a tough cookie. He had his rowdy days, he wasn’t always a good husband and according to my siblings, he was not always a good father. I realize all of that about him, but he was my dad and I loved him more than I can adequately express.
He had such a tender and sentimental side, yet he could be so harsh at times. I only remember three times in my life I was at odds with him. We did not always see eye-to-eye, yet in the worst times of my life, he was there for me. He did not judge me or say I told you so although he well could have. He just loved me and helped me find my way.
On his birthday, I think I miss him a lot more than other days. He was such a kid at heart. I miss our chats and our birthday calls and wish so much I could talk to him again. Losing my mom at 19 was so hard and if my dad and I had allowed time or space or disagreements to come between us, I think my life may have taken an unhealthy turn.
I will never get over losing my dad. I do not live in grief any longer but the missing never goes away. The longing for that one last hug is an ache I will always carry. But on this day, I cannot be sad. I can only smile and think about how much he loved his birthday and how much we loved each other.
He would be ecstatic to see my six grandchildren (and six of his great-grandchildren.) He has been such a role model for me in what it means to be a grandmother. My children adored him because he always made them feel special and he always had time for them. He talked to them like they were people. He loved them no matter what.
Dad, I miss you — especially today. I am so thankful for the relationship we had because I know many, many people who were not so fortunate. The love and respect I have for you has continued to grow even after your passing.
Happy Birthday, Daddy. I love you always. I am living my life with joy and I hope you realized how very much your love would continue to shape the course of my life.