A letter to dad
When I started this blog almost a year ago, my first post was a tribute to my mom, for all the love and patience she showed me over the years. Gratitude. My mom told me later, after my dad read it, he said half-joking, Wow, I wish someone loved me that much. Well dad, I do. I so do. And David does and Robbie does. And Owen, Bennett, Cade, Annalise, Lainey, Jack and Jamison do, too. Oh yes, and of course mom. And your mom and dad. I could go on, but I think that’s a lovely start. We all do love you that much.
It’s your birthday today. And there are lots of folks who don’t care so much about birthdays, but not our family. We take notice. We say I love you and we celebrate with proper pomp and circumstance. Because every day with our beloveds is a life filled up. Every year is worthy of notice and celebration. If my life was a well in which I collected all the time, energy and care you and mom poured in to it, its buckets would need constant draining and rotation to keep from overflowing. And you dad, you pour in so much. So much time, energy and care that sometimes I marvel at your diligence, your discipline, your heart. You seek out no attention or praise. You just show up. You show up every damn day when someone you love needs them. And even when they say, no, no I’m fine. You show up anyway and you say, get in the car, we’re going out. And when they say, no, no you don’t have to visit me every day. You show up every day to visit and hold space. You held your mamas hand for weeks every day leading up to her last day. How truly loved and appreciated she must have felt. We should all be so lucky, to have children who grow up and turn the love and devotion we pour into them into a reserve to be eventually poured back into their parents when the time comes.
I don’t know how you did it, but somehow you managed to carve out a life that was both big and small. As Thoreau suggested, you live deeply and suck all the marrow out of life. I’ve never heard you say no to more time spent honoring the people in your life. One more drink? Yes. Dancing at weddings? Yes. You need help? Yes. You need a ride? Yes. You need a coat? Take mine. You sought out the best of what growing up milking cows ingrains in your fibers – hard work, common sense and concern for others. And, you have little need for the material trappings of life. You let the rest, the glass half empty portion, wash over you entirely with little or no impact. You sought out the big things, too, like wildly succeed in business, travel and think with wide open borders versus narrowly defined pretexts.
I never understood the depths to which you loved me until I saw the depths to which you loved my children. The self-sacrifice of raising children is never seen by the child, only the parent. And it perpetuates rounds and rounds, generation after generation into perpetuity. There are no words to explain the deeper awareness of seeing your parents tenderly rock your babies in their arms, carefully buckle them into car seats and cut their food into such infinitesimally small pieces that it couldn’t obstruct the throat of a tiny sparrow much less a tiny person. Love – equally powerful felt, as it is spoken.
So never question how much you are loved. My love and devotion for you is unparalleled. We all need wise, gutsy, truth-telling heroes in our lives. Thank you for being mine.
Happy Birthday to my sage.
Love, your muse.