(The girls got these for Grandpa and he was happy to pose.)
It is my dad's birthday today. I didn't get to spend the day with him...I didn't get to send him his birthday treats...but I thought of him often today and I did share 'flu' battle stories on the phone with him tonight. I wish I was better saying aloud my feelings, but I guess in that category, I'm a chip off the 'ole block. Here it is 11:30 pm, your birthday is about over, and I'll get in trouble for burning the candle at both ends of the wick...but I want you to know...
You have taught me so much about living a life of character. You always give more than you take. You never give up and don't complain about the cards you are dealt, the rains that come too fast or never at all. I know that a very few do the work for many. It is important to stand up for yourself. When you make choices in life they reflect on those around you, so make sure they are choices you can be proud of. I've always known that you were my safety net if I was in danger, but you'd let me fall to learn a life lesson. I'm learning each day how hard that is for a parent.
I'll never forget the day I was so excited to talk 'A Few Good Men' with you...I was proud that you were in the military...that you fought for our country. Though I don't remember your exact words, I'm sure they were brief, but a quote from the movie summed it up, "You want the truth, you can't handle the truth." I was so caught up in the Hollywood of it all, I didn't take time to think about what that meant to you. It wasn't all glory...you paid a price...for our country. You fought, you served, you trained, and you taught me that you'd do it again, but it wasn't all that Tom Cruise portrayed in his movies. I learned that I will probably never completely know the impact it had on your life. I hope you know, that even though it goes unsaid most of the time, your entire family is proud of the life you chose to live.
My favorite role of yours to-date, has to be that of Grandfather. I melt watching my girls with you. You had, what I considered, pretty big shoes to fill, those left by your father. He was a pretty dynamic grandpa. You, however, have outgrown those shoes and set a cast that may break records. The tractor rides, the 4-wheeler rides, the shoulder rides. The gift of love you give to my girls is a gift that we all feel is priceless.
If I could bottle a 'feeling' or a moment from my childhood it would be of us walking hand-in-hand. I remember how you would always lift me up, right before I was going to trip. There would be a moment of panic, fear of falling, that would suddenly turn to joy of being lifted, by your strong hands, over the rocks or invisible rocks that I had stumbled over.
Happy Birthday Dad. You continue to lift me up in more ways than you will ever know!
I love you!