Tuesday, May 10, 2011

happy birthday, daddy.

Today is my dad's birthday, and I swear to you, that even after 8 (!?) years since his death, in early May I still catch myself thinking of ideas of what to get him for his birthday.  I notice books he would love or shirts he'd look handsome in, or photos of my kids he would appreciate.

I just re-read what I wrote last year on my dad's birthday, and yep, it still captures how I feel.   The most important thing I would reiterate that I learned from my dad is to treat others gently, to give the benefit of the doubt, to see the good in everyone.  He not only gave me this advice, he lived it.  He was very quick to assume good intentions, he was kind to everyone he came across, friendly to strangers, and appreciative of whatever each person had to offer.   Seeing people from this perspective not only makes you a kind person, it makes you a happier person.  Thanks, dad.

One quick memory to illustrate my point:  Once when I was in high school, I drove with my dad from Michigan to Maryland to see our Maryland relatives, but I can't remember why it was just the two of us.  We got up and left very early, and so the roads were pretty empty on our way to the highway.  My dad was going on about how amazing it is that so many people did their part to allow for everything to function so smoothly in society.  "Isn't it incredible? Everyone who needs to be is up early and off to work.  There are attendants at the gas stations, coffee is made in all of the restaurants, the toll both workers are ready and waiting for us, the street cleaners are out, construction crews are up and at it, police are on duty, everything is running smoothly.  What a wonderful world."  He would go on and on, and I would probably roll my eyes with my teenage self, amazed at how my dad was so easily thrilled by things most people would never notice, but what I would say to my dad today is:  "Yes, dad, I was listening, and I notice all of these things, and yes, you are right, it is a wonderful world."

My dad was a great (and prolific) photographer, and he loved to take photos of us when we were distracted by something, and therefore not fake-smiling or posing.  He was notorious for making us hold flowers in our hands to look at while he was photographing us.  We have shoe boxes full of these photos.

Here are two pictures he would love. I might have framed them for his birthday.   I hope he can see them.

My mom's neighbor got a brand new pug puppy and my kids, especially Skyler, fell instantly in love.

She has another pug named Ming so she wanted a matching Chinese name for this little one.  I suggested Dumpling.  That's, Chinese, right?   I think it might stick.

Reed doesn't exactly have a gentle touch, and did more squeezing than holding; he made me very nervous.  We were also glad that Jackson wasn't around considering that Dumpling might seem like a tasty appetizer.

And yes,  I realize that Reed's hair is totally out of control.  It's getting more big than long, and I wanted to cut it, but we are trying to cultivate a particular look and we're going to have to be patient.   We'll see what happens. 

 Happy Birthday to my greatest-ever Dad.

Today's marathon quote:
"The obsession with running is really an obsession with the potential for more and more life." - George Sheehan


Elizabeth said...

I do so love that photo of Dad--we were in Wyoming for a wild-life photo workshop and it was grand--just seeing it brings back so many memories. He did teach us all so much about photography, mostly how to look at the world with curious eyes. Happy Birthday to my Forever Love!