Today is my dad’s 70th birthday. 70. That’s big…especially to my dad who lost his own father at the age of 70.
I know this is not a normal post, but my dad has been one of my biggest cheerleaders for…well…all my life. I’ve loved him my whole life. He has supported me for as long as I can remember. I think it is important to show you all that we have a wonderful support system in our family and friends. Without them, well, I’m not sure we would be where we are today.
I’ve always been able to talk to my dad about a variety of things…which I guess makes me a “Daddy’s Girl.” From an early age, he instilled a love of reading in me. I firmly believe that is why I am a teacher, why I studied literature, and why I still love curling up with a good book. I can remember going into my parent’s room to lay down beside my dad while he read—I would bring a book in as well.
I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs in my 36 years, and my dad has been there…probably more times than I can count. Whether it was after a bad grade, a basketball loss, a broken heart, a job change, a divorce…he was there…with open arms. I could always count on my dad to be in my corner.
I know that I am beyond blessed with my dad—and the fact that he and my mom are so close to us (all in the small town of Cambria). We’re so lucky that they can help out with the kids, check on the two little dogs (as they don’t get to travel with us at times), and of course, be there for us. I know some of my closest friends do not have this–and it makes my heart hurt because of that.
My dad is the oldest of three boys. His parents were some of my favorite people, and the only grandparents I ever knew. He was a railroad guy—having worked on the railroad for the majority of my life. He never missed out on important events in our lives (our being mine and my siblings). He came to my basketball games as a player and as a coach (I even recruited him to keep the scorebook from time to time). He has been there for my kids and has been there for softball/baseball games, school programs, sleepovers at his house, vacations/day trips. He never complains. He goes above and beyond for his family.
When I met Sam, my dad was one of the first people I told…odd, right? Maybe that’s something for a mom, girlfriends, etc…but I wanted my dad to know about this amazing guy. When Sam hosted his first Veteran Art Show, my dad went with me. And, that was when Sam, an army guy, felt intimidated by my dad! Ha!
When Sam and I began dating, we had a few dinner dates with my parents. I’m happy to say there was never a dull, awkward silence during those times or in a conversation. My dad and Sam could chat (and still can) about anything. They got along well (and still do), and could talk for hours about history, war, and sports (among other things).
I remember having a conversation with my dad about Sam and PTSD. My dad listened. He didn’t judge. He didn’t ask questions, he listened. He wanted to know if there was anything he could do to help, or what I did to help when Sam was uncomfortable. I also remember telling him that he was thinking about applying to This Able Veteran for a service dog. He asked some questions about the program, how that worked, what type of training, what kind of dog…he didn’t judge. He was supportive and still is. He listened while I told him about the three weeks of training that Sam would go through–and he even volunteered to cook a meal for the Veterans in the class.
My dad has been through a lot in 70 years. Happy times, sad times, loss of parents and other relatives. Ups and downs with his family, and ups and downs with life. He’s a wonderful husband…incredibly supportive of my mom, taking care of her, helping her with daily tasks…I’ve never seen anything like it. He works hard (even though he’s been retired for a bit), he cares, he listens…he loves. Although he is quiet, he is witty, sharp as a tack, and funny. He’s been so supportive, so loving, and so caring to me, Sam, and the kids (of course, the furry kids too)…I just can’t imagine our lives without him.
I hope you are fortunate to have a support system in your life. My dad is one of a kind…and I know that some of you have had that type of dad, love, and cheerleader in your life as well.
Today my dad turns 70…Happiest of birthdays, Dad.