I’m writing 30 Words for 30 Days, one topic per day. Find out why here.
Today is my dad’s birthday.
Yep, April Fool’s Day. No kidding.
Of all the years of pranks, the best one ever would have been for him to wake up today and realize that this whole last month had been some kind of prank. Some kind of twisted joke being played on the world that had now been revealed.
Maybe, too, that it was 76 degrees outside, sunny and with a slight breeze blowing out of the west, perfect for RC airplane flying. Rarely happens at the beginning of April though.
Unfortunately… instead he’ll be ordering take out and celebrating with my mom and sister at home as they try to steer clear of the virus and party like it’s 2019.
So, while I can’t change any of that, what I can do is help celebrate him by sharing some of my favorite memories with you dad. So, here goes…
Of course, one of my favorites has always been time shared flying together, such as in this post about 5000 feet. Growing up, I can remember heading up to Marion, OH on some Saturday morning with the warm summer air blowing across the field. Riding shotgun with you in the tow plane as we towed up countless sailplane riders and cut them loose and dove back down to grab another. And then getting our chance to fly the sailplane together as well, searching for those thermals, gazing down on the world below as if in slow motion.
Whenever I work on home projects, I’m so thankful for all the things you showed me growing up. How to figure things out, use the right tools, not give up. I remember working together fixing a toilet, getting my hands dirty working on the car (even though I used to hate the feel of grease on my hands). Household assembly projects, working in the attic or or wherever. You taught me to be curious and do what I can for myself.
I’m thankful for all the hours you spent watching me play sports… badly. Honestly, I was pretty awful. But you sat through all the soccer games, the basketball (briefly), the track meets and more. You were there when I missed the mat (but cleared the bar) in high jump and went home with a concussion. You were there when I tripped over the first hurdle in my regional 300m race, hit the track and then got up to come back and finish strong. You were always there.
You were so instrumental in teaching me how to really care about others. I can hear your voice sometimes echo in mine with my own kids. But you challenged me to think more about others than I was about myself. To put myself in their shoes. It always bugged you when I would just be selfish in how I responded to someone or treated someone. And even though, especially as a teen (what is it about those teenagers? :), I often didn’t want to hear it, those words sank in deep and made a difference.
You gave me a love for video, writing and creativity. From those stop-action super 8 movies you made of the Fisher Price airport set to the countless projects we worked on together, I know now you were enjoying them as much as I was. And when I write an ode or craft a video or do something creative, I’m thankful for those seeds and encouragement and your vision.
You taught me how to work hard and were my partner in lawn mowing and paper routes. One of my favorite snapshots in time is how you’d pick me up at the bottom of the street on my paper route on those cold winter mornings, we’d stop to get doughnuts and then eat them at the top of the next street in the car before I stepped back out into the cold. White frosted raspberry filled is still one of my faves.
Finally, I’m thankful for showing me how to be a dad. As I’ve passed through the stages of new dad, dad with young kids, teenagers and now with an… yikes… adult in the house, I’m thankful for what I’ve learned from you in the past
about how to build into my kids, encourage them, and help spur them on to do what God has called them to do.
So thanks dad, for all the ways you’ve built into me and memories you’ve given me to cherish. I look forward to being able to celebrate together when all of this is over. Let’s find a nice open field and a warm summer morning….