Happy Birthday! I am sad I had to leave yesterday and did not get a proper chance to celebrate your big day so here is a letter instead! I debated writing this post and then once I did whether or not I should publish it because you are not into this whole “blogging thing”. I do listen and I know you don’t love how much information I put out there on the world wide web. For this reason I purposely had another post scheduled for today, instead of one devoted to you like I did for Mom’s birthday, but something changed my mind.
Saturday night when we were watching Kevin Costner’s 3 Days to Kill one scene really struck a cord. “What kind of kid doesn’t know how to ride a bike?” asks Ethan. His daughter Zooey replies, “The kind of kid who doesn’t have a father to teach her.” While predictable, Dad, it made me look at you with renewed admiration.
Dad, thank you for being around when I was little and teaching me life long skills, like how to ride a bike, how to throw a baseball, and how to gargle Scope without swallowing the entire mouthful. Thank you for teaching me to not sweat the small stuff (although I am still working on that one) and sometimes it is the little things you’ve taught me as an adult, like the difference between a Phillips Head and a Flat Head screw driver and why stud finders are important, that make a difference.
You love the Mark Twain quote (although I am not sure you would recall that it was Twain or the ages exactly) that reads, “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished by how much he’d learned in seven years.” Well Dad, I have always thought you were the smartest man I know and I do not think that will change any time soon. You were there every step of the way, especially when it came to swimming:
Swimming is the biggest thing I have to thank you for, Dad, and it has been such a huge part of my life since I can remember. Not only did you teach me this basic life skill, but you passed along your love for the sport. You understood the importance of a tenth of a second without anyone having to explain the significance, because you did it first. You were an All-American swimmer and that made you the best cheerleader around, and “around” certainly took us to a lot of places. I am positive neither of us have any interest in ever returning to Crawfordsville, Indiana, but I really appreciate you spending the week with me there just so I could swim ten, minute long races. I know with absolutely certainty that swimming is a bond we will always have and our laps together yesterday in Cape Cod just go to show.
We both know I talk to Mom every day and while we may not talk for a week, suddenly you will send me an email, like this one from February, out of the blue and with no caption necessary.
I love you and I hope you have a wonderful day!