Dad was 42
Today is his birthday. He is 65.
Happy Birthday Daddy.
Below is something I wrote on Saturday June 16, 2007 and originally posted it to my then blog on Myspace.com
I wanted to make sure it made it into my first 100 posts on blogger. Because it just should.
I could hear the tractor's engine so I peered out the window. I had just come inside the house after playing outside for several hours. I was hot and sweaty and covered in small blades of grass from running after and riding on my father's tractor.
I stood now, in the upstairs bathroom of our house. Although my legs were itching from the sweat and the grass I was in no hurry to clean myself up. I was fascinated.
My father, clad in his blue work jeans, white t-shirt and baseball cap was wearing his pride on his sleeve as he rode his red tractor around the yard. Although at the distance I could barely make out the features on his face I was almost certain that a smile would be seen if I were a little closer. He was in his glory.
The small bathroom I was in was hot and although there was a breeze coming through the small window where I stood, the room was still.
I could have sworn I heard my father humming. Through the whir of the tractor's engine and the blowing breeze, it was there. I swear.
Watching him, I was certain, that my father was indeed the one that had hung the moon.
In a single moment I saw my father for more then who he was to me. I think as a child it's hard to understand that your parents are actually people, as ordinary as the strangers we pass on the street. He wasn't only my father though. He was a man who held important things close to his heart, who valued much more then I could ever imagine, and who had loved, lost and lived a life before I had even been born.
I grew curious about him and thought about things I would never know about him. He had fought in the Vietnam War, which in my eyes made him a hero in just the simple yet complicated fact that he had served for our country. I never once thought about how this dedication and servitude had changed him. He was always, just my father.
I wondered about the day he met my mother, about the day when he first realized he loved her. It made me think about my life and my undiscovered path. It made me hopeful, thoughtful and I wondered whom I would meet and fall in love with. I had no doubt that I wanted this person to be like my father.
I don't know how long I stood at that window and watched him. I do know that that memory, that vision of my father has stuck with me for at least 20 years now. In those 20 years, my father, that man on the tractor that day, has made me so proud to be his daughter.
His unnatural ease with strangers makes me envious. His inability to say he's too busy to help someone is disturbing. His hand gestures when he talks make me smile, especially now, as I see that I have inherited this curious trait.
And, as in life, there are always things we get handed that we may not be happy about. As I have grown, and have become someone's wife, a mother and have had the daughter title drop down a few notches on my list of "who I am". I realize that good or bad, I am my father's daughter.
While I may not hold the same things as close to my heart as he does, or act at ease when introduced to a stranger I have his strength and I have his love of nature and animals. I have his nastiness, as my mother calls it, when it comes to my boiling anger but I also have his tenderness and allow others the benefit of the doubt, sometimes, too many times over.
That day as I watched my father on his tractor I saw him living his life. I took the fact that he was my father out of the equation. I was left with a man only few compare to and no one exceeds.
Funny, how some things, never change.
Happy Birthday to a man anyone would be lucky to meet