Happy Birthday Dad!
Yes, that's me. No, the one with the pacifier. I am one month old. Kiska, is the dog- I don't know how old she is. Young good looking guy with longish sideburns (it is the seventies after all)...that is my Dad. (Red phone making extremely important phone call to new grandmother.)
When I think back, I believe I had the pretty ideal childhood complete with father who amongst other things: made forts for me whenever I needed to escape. Spent hours in our pool featured in the role of great white shark. Made the best fudge. Was held more or less hostage in countless pretend classrooms I had created. Attended many impromptu shows written, directed and starring me- and the occasional guest appearance by my younger brother or other neighborhood draftees. Coached softball. Built floats. Danced in talent shows. Rode on the really big scary roller coasters with me. You know, the really good kind of Dad stuff.
There are parts of me, whether learned or genetic that are directly from my father. The love of a good book. The love of a good (or usually really bad) pun. Attention to the smallest detail. A sharp tongue. A dry sense of humor. Determination. Finding a little good, when there is a whole lot of bad. Craftiness. A zeal for debate. The ability to be truly goofy, and to be okay with others laughing at me (or to laugh at myself.) To always strive for perfection. An affinity for old-school cobblers, crisps, brown-betty's, buckles, and the like.
Now I watch my boys with my dad and I wonder what they will learn- what they will always remember- what part of him will be passed on to them. They both already have a fascination with airplanes, and an uncanny sense of rhythm- both which I know comes from him. I find myself now saying to the boys the same phrases he did, the ones that used to make my eyes roll and stay at the top of my head (that I swore, and you probably did too, that you would never say) things like- " Slow down on that food, nobody is going to take it away from you, " or "Plenty of other children would be happy to eat what you are eating right now...." Ahhh, parenthood. Life really is a strange, beautiful circle.
So Happy Birthday, your first day on earth day- the day that we celebrate you. Eat the rest of quadruple berry cake I made you (you don't have to share any today!) Make wishes. I love you.
Happy Father's Day too.