Dads

1970s

Yesterday would have been my dad’s 65th birthday. He died over five years ago and his birthday still bums me out a bit. He never really got a birthday celebration growing up, it always seemed to be overshadowed by something, first communions, school trips, recitals, girl scout events and every few years, Mother’s Day. He always accepted it being moved quite graciously and only seemed to want socks, underwear and garden hoses as gifts.  While we had our differences, I’m lucky we had a chance to work everything out and spent some great years together before he passed away.

1980s

My son was born 5 years to the day after my dad died and as a result got an unexpected middle name addition which is cool because Spencer’s dad has two middle names, too. I have to think that that birthday was my dad’s way of saying hi and giving his blessing. My boy doesn’t have any living grandparents on my side of the family, and part of me feels guilty, like I robbed my parents of the chance to be grandparents by waiting until my 30s to have a child. And my dad wanted a boy so badly, and was stuck with just me and my sister. As a result, we learned to use power tools and played lots of backyard catch, and for that I am grateful.  I have good friends whose dads’ died when they were quite young and my husband’s dad died when he was 2. So, I understand that I am lucky to have my dad until just after my 30th birthday. Still, I’m sad today and I think it is ok. Sometimes, in pictures, my little guy has the same exact glint in his eye that my dad had and I know it is my dad saying hi.

1990s

Perhaps my favorite memories of my dad are him teaching me how to ride a bike and then drive a car, both took place at our town’s government center because we lived on a hilly street with no sidewalks that didn’t lend itself to learning either. He had such a calming and unflappable presence; it made learning easy. My mom, on the other hand, was prone to new driver hysterics. Now, that I am a mom, I understand that a little better. I am also thinking that my husband will be the one giving the driving lessons. As an added bonus, he has a lot of experience, seeing as how he taught every other one of my female friends how to drive a stick in high school. Not me though. He STILL hasn’t taught me how to drive a stick, but now that we own one again, plans are in the works.

2000s

This post has veered a little wildly. Most likely because I wrote it over the entire course of his birthday and decided to wait a day to post it. I was in a pretty big funk when I started, but after (finally) finding the box of family photos I have been trying to find for the last 2 years, I am in much better spirits. Happy Birthday, Dad!

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