My father is turning 65 this week. I don’t know whether or not he reads this blog, but I’ve mentioned him several times since I started writing in this space last summer. He is the source of my name, my left-handedness, and my love of baseball. Any brilliance that I may have comes from him, or perhaps from my mother. But the role that he’s had on shaping my life has been undeniable.
The picture above was taken on my first birthday, when he and my mom were both in their early 20s. I’m struck by the fact that with me on his arm, my sister about a week away from being born, and the draft in Vietnam all hanging over his head, he somehow managed to have a big smile on his face. There’s just no way I could have managed all that stress.
My father’s father died when he was in high school, so he never had a chance to see his own father through an adult’s eyes. I’m grateful to be able to do this with my own dad, and I’m glad that he’s been able to meet my children and be a part of their lives.
One of the reasons I write this blog is to give myself a platform for sending messages out to the wider world. My father isn’t on Facebook, and never will be, so writing a silly little birthday greeting on his wall isn’t an option. And I’ve stopped sending birthday cards a long time ago, partly because I’m lazy and partly because I know, from what I do with the birthday cards I get, is that they’ll be looked at for a brief second and then discarded. We’ll probably talk on the phone for a few minutes on his birthday, as we normally do. But writing a birthday wish to him on this site–and also sharing a long-forgotten picture–will live on forever, and have a wider reach than any card ever would. I’d rather have it that way, and perhaps he would, too.
Being a father is the most exhilarating thing that I’ve ever done with my life. But it wasn’t until I became a father that I realized what a fun–and vital–role this is to play in a child’s life. Thanks for everything Dad, whether you read this or not.