Today is my Dad’s 81st birthday.
I call him Daddy-o…I’m not sure why, but I just started calling him that a few years ago—and the name just stuck. And I really love my Daddy-o.
He really is a great example of what a father should be like. He is kind and loving, and loves to joke around with his kids and his grandkids. He is also very generous and has dedicated a good portion of his “retirement” to building houses for Habitat for Humanity…not to mention all the time he spends on helping his kids and grandkids by fixing whatever happens to be broken in their homes. I swear, Dad knows how to fix pretty much everything—washers, dryers, dishwashers—you name an appliance, he probably can fix it.
Here are a few memories of my wonderful Daddy-o:
--When I was in kindergarten (and I think even back then, I didn’t like getting up early in the morning), he would nudge open the door to my bedroom and gently sing the song “Good Morning to You” with a funny little lilt in his voice. It would always make me giggle, and I would hop on out of bed.
And by the way, that song has the best lyrics for waking up five-year-olds in the morning:
Good morning to you!
Good morning to you!
We’re all in our places
With sunshiney faces
Now this is the way
To start a new day!
I’m TOTALLY going to sing that song to my future child/children!
--When I was probably 6 or 7 years old, somehow I got an infection in the lining of my stomach (I was always coming down with weird illnesses when I was a kid), and it was extremely painful. I remember waking up one morning (in my bedroom, which happened to be upstairs), and I had sharp, intense pains in my stomach—more pain than I’d ever felt before in my young life. I struggled out of bed and immediately doubled over in pain. All I could think was “I have to get downstairs to tell Mom and Dad!” So I stayed in that doubled-over position and somehow made it to top of the stairs. As I looked down at the floor at the bottom of the brown-carpeted stairs, I thought of how very far away it seemed. And I thought, there is no way I can make it down those stairs in this position. But there was also no way that I could stand up—the pain was just too bad. So I began crying out to my Dad, whom I knew was awake (since he got up at 5:30 every morning), “Dad! Help! I can’t get down the stairs!” I began rocking back and forth in agony. “Dad! Help!”
But it was too late. Suddenly, I rocked forward just a little bit too far and tumbled all the way down the stairs. As I laid there at the bottom, shocked by what had just happened (but clearly not injured from the fall down carpeted stairs), I looked up to see my Dad with a concerned, yet amused look on his face. "Well, that was probably the quickest way to get down the stairs."
I burst out laughing. It just hit me as so funny, and even as I grabbed my aching stomach, hurting even more from my laughter, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit better.
My Dad laughed, too, and then he carried me to the couch and told me that everything was going to be okay. And I knew it would be.
--When I was a teenager, one of my first boyfriends—whom I was convinced I was going to marry (ah, young love!), broke up with me. He said some pretty mean things to me, and I was heartbroken and also very angry. I cried and cried—and no matter how my parents tried to console me, I was just so hurt. A few days later, I thought, “I’m going to write him a letter.” And what a letter it was! I don’t think I’ve ever written a more angry, mean-spirited letter in all my life. I put the letter in an envelope, put his address and a stamp on it, and put it on the top of the refrigerator (where my family put items to be mailed).
The next morning, I had a change of heart and thought, “I can’t mail that letter!” I rushed down the stairs to the kitchen—but alas, the letter was gone. It had been mailed out. I felt terrible. As mean as he was to me, I had been much, much meaner in the letter.
Then I thought, maybe there’s a chance that it didn’t go out yet. My Dad usually brought the mail to our mailbox later in the morning. Maybe he had it on his desk or something.
So I went down to his home office in our basement, and looked on his desk. Damn, it wasn’t there. My Dad walked by and saw me looking on his desk. “What are you looking for?” he asked.
“I had an envelope to mail on top of the fridge,” I said sadly, “I guess you mailed it already.”
Without saying a word, he opened a drawer in his filing cabinet and pulled out the envelope.
I was shocked—not to mention relieved!
“Dad, why did you—?”
He just smiled at me. He knew—he just knew. And I knew that my Dad loved me.
See how wonderful my Dad is? And these are only a few isolated incidences—there are so many other moments—big and small—where my Dad has shown his love for me—and for all his children and grandchildren.
So Happy Birthday, Daddy-o! I hope you have the wonderful day that you deserve. Love you very much!