Happy Birthday Daddy!!


Waiting on the coffee to brew...  Heard that train whistle at four again this morning.  Normally I sleep right through it, I guess I just have too much on my mind...

Oh well... I think that is how life works.

Dad and his girls October 2012

Today is my Dad's 70th birthday!  Time flies... Five years ago, my sisters and I all flew to Arizona to celebrate with him.  He'd moved there a bit before and his wife thought we should all come for the milestone day.

Considering the challenges she had caused, it was tough for all of us to put ourselves in that position.  I am glad we did.  A lot can change in five years, the world can get bumpier than we can handle.

Dad is a tough man.  We all know why he is the way he is, and we all accept it.  We know "I love you's" are hard to come by just as we are sure that he loves us all deeply.

Five years ago, I think I about threw him into a full fledged fit!  He'd wanted us all to wear black, I didn't own any black, and frankly when I couldn't find any I decided I was done searching.  We were going to Arizona after all in May - it was hot!  I wore pink.  Maybe I should have searched a bit harder for something black, even though at that point in my life (oddly enough as black has always been a huge staple in my closet) I was adamantly opposed to owning black.  When I look back at the pictures I smile.  They make me happy.  I was being rebellious and contrary, just as Dad usually is.

Daddy is a great father, he pushed us to be more.  He was distant and often gone, but when he was around he made sure to create adventures and memories for us.  I just don't believe that he really knew how to tell us he loved us.  When we were kids, if he said "I love you" it usually meant something bad was happening.

My favorite memories with my dad are readily available... omelets in the middle of the night, playing board games in the hotel late on a snowy night, camping on the beach in Crete, Fort Stanwick in Upstate New York, castles,  his college graduation (and how mad he was that I was dating a guy that didn't even know one screw driver from the next), Mt. Ida at Christmas time, the trip from Crete to Germany, his devotion to family (even when we didn't think so), sitting on his lap on my graduation day and hearing how proud he was, watching Pappas Manolis walk him down the path to help him (ella tho zoe - definitely the phonetic spelling there), my first driving test (when the car blew up on the instructor)... there are so many wonderful things that come to mind.

I am luckier than my sisters, I had left for my own life when he decided he couldn't handle all the changes in his life and went down a different path.  I don't have as many of the bitter memories to swallow.  I don't have as many things to forgive and forget.  Funny... as kids he was far tougher on us older two.  He was more ready to be a dad for the younger two.  Yet as the oldest, now it is easier for me to simply forgive and love. 

Even though I wasn't the apple of his eye, he was my hero.  I did everything I could to make him realize that.  I don't know if I was successful or not.  But I know that I am okay with it all.  I let him down so many times because I was determined to be me, and not live the life he wanted for me. In many ways the relationship that he and I have shaped the parent I became.  I was determined to not be like him.  I didn't want to be the military drill Sargent.

The past five years have lead to us almost losing him forever, to us finally having him back in our lives.  They have been painful and healing at the same time.  

I wanted to be in Arkansas to celebrate with him, Daddy loves celebrations, especially if you are celebrating him.  Every time he came home from TDY (business trips for those unmilitary folks) we had a party for him.  I remember one time we didn't... we were older and he'd hurt all of us at that point - and mom telling us, how upset and sad he was.  I guess to a degree I regret it, but you can't change the past.

Mom and Dad Christmas 2012
I couldn't get down there today, being the middle of the week, and the fact that my month is stuffed.  In a few hours I will call him.  I know that part of his birthday present arrived yesterday, the other part will be there on Saturday - it had just been released.  I really struggled with what to give him.  Mom is always a bit easier, but Dad just isn't.  In the end I decided to mark this milestone with things that would simply make him happy.  I couldn't send him to Germany, wish I could have, so I sent a bit of Germany to him.  I ordered him a new audio book, so he can sit out on the deck drinking his coffee enjoying the sunshine, listening to his book and letting mom do everything for him.

"Holy Shit! That's pretty damn good"  Enjoy Dad!!!

I am sure that he is happy.  In a way all his girls are back in his world, Mom is taking great care of him (and he loves being spoiled, even if he doesn't admit it) and his grand kids and great grand kids are part of his life again too.  I hope he has a great day!  He will indulge a bit much in food that will mess with his blood sugar, but we don't worry because we know Mom is watching it now.  And I hope that he knows he is loved!

Happy Birthday Daddy!! I love you!

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