Monday, August 31, 2009
to my dad, on his birthday
(Lough Leane, Killarney National Park)
It’s Sunday morning. I’ve gone into church early with my dad, and he is typing up some last minute additions to his sermon notes. He is moving quickly and no doubt intends to proofread later, but I am quite concerned about all the typos. I read over his shoulder and announce mistakes. My dad patiently returns to each one and corrects it, graciously allowing me to be his emphatic little third-grade editor.
It’s Thanksgiving night, and we’ve had an enormous snowfall. My dad leaves behind adult conversation to make a snowman with my brother and me. We cheer as he rolls the first giant ball of snow. In our obsession, we ask him to keep going, keep going! He huffs and puffs as he rolls and rolls; it gets bigger and bigger. My dad wears himself out so we can have our giant snowball.
My dad yells “Goooooooootz!” as I approach the back of the volleyball court. Even though I later ask him to keep it down because serving gives me trouble, I know he’s proud of me. Once I manage a particularly powerful quick ace, and he still talks about it today. My dad is my biggest fan.
(historian, aesthete, teacher)
My dad calls me on the phone, and we’re a thousand miles apart. We do this several times a year. He explains in detail the plan he’s devised to get our family all together. He knows exactly how to work the plan most efficiently, and he gets everyone on board. He’s excited about the details, because he’s passionate about his family. My dad loves his people and will do what it takes to be with them.
It’s Christmas, and my dad lounges on the couch. A dark-haired, blue-eyed little bundle of a baby sleeps contentedly on his chest. She never sleeps like this with anyone else. My dad is the ultimate Babu.
Happy Birthday, Dad. Thank you for your patience, selflessness, support, generosity, and love. I love you.