Monday, May 04, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dad

I missed you today. It's been a long time, and sometimes I just wish the phone would ring and it would be you. I didn't appreciate our time together like I should have, and I'm sorry.

For your birthday, I'm assuming you got what you always asked for....a little peace and quiet. I thought I'd give you a quick update on my world.

Life is good for me. My job right now is what you would have called "a learning experience" and I'm happy to say that my mind, like a parachute, works best when open. You were right about that, but I don't know that I ever told you. It might surprise you, or not, I guess, to find out that I turned out to be a pretty respectable sales person. Funny where life leads you, I guess.

You were also right when you told me, sometimes repeatedly and not very nicely that I am just like my mother. I would like to think that's true, and I believe it is to some extent. You loved her for more than 40 years, so I'm thinking her track record isn't half bad.

LittleG is beautiful and sassy and so much like me that it would make your heart ache to see her. I call her Sugar sometimes, like you used to call me. It makes us both happy, and I think it's a quiet tribute to you. I told her the other day that you used to call me by that name. She asks about you sometimes and wonders if you and Daisy are ok together in heaven. I don't know how much she will remember about you, but I'm doing my best to remind her that you always had a sucker for her, especially when we visited you in the hospital.

MrG is such a good man and I am convinced at alternating times that he is a total blithering idiot, and the most brilliant man on the earth.

I am so lucky to have such a nice family.

We've been in our house now for nearly a decade, and we've never been a day late on the payment. Who would have thought all those years ago when all I could manage was overdue student loans that I would ever turn into a real live grownup?

Just because I know you'd want to know, yes, my car is running well. I have just over 53,000 miles on it, and it will soon be time to rotate the tires and change the oil like a good little car owner should. Thanks for the valuable lesson in car maintenance and responsibility. By the way, I still have my dorky Excel spreadsheet that calculates the mileage. Some habits die hard, I guess.

I'm putting some money away every month, just like you taught me, and someday, perhaps, I will be able to afford to send LittleG to school for a semester and buy a book or two. Those lessons about financial planning make a lot more sense to me now.

I have some really terrific friends - friends who surround me and hold me up, who laugh with me and cry with me, and see my faults and love me anyway. Jennifer sent me a message today on Facebook, and I know she misses you, too. I learned a lot about the value of a friend from you.

I look back with respect and admiration at your friendships....the 12 men who stood with you as we celebrated your life then marched down the aisles of the church to the strains of the triumphant Aggie War Hymn, the hundreds of people from all over the world who played an online memorial backgammon tournament in your name, the church friends you found late in life, and the folks from the irrigation community who respected and loved you. I will probably never have the type of friendships you had, because I think few people do. But you know what? My posse is mine, and they love me, and I love them in return.

I tried to make you proud, Dad. Good job, good family, good friends. A girl could do a whole lot worse.

I hope wherever you are tonight that this message finds you and you feel the love across the miles. I miss you, Dad. Happy birthday.

4 comments:

Beverly said...

Thanks, Stephanie.
I love you, Mom

Stuart said...

That was awesome (especially liked the part about changing the oil and tire rotation.) And your Mom read it. Even awesome-r.

Chad and Mary Kate Martin said...

Ditto Stu...
Thank you for sharing...

M--- said...

I avoided reading this one when I was visiting your blog before, since my father has also passed. I knew from previous posts where you've shared a bit about your Dad that this particular title and the letter that followed would surely bring on the waterworks, my ability to remain tear-free at anything personal notwithstanding. Funny that I would stumble across it again, the week of MY father's birthday.

As poignant as I knew it would be. A teary read for me as expected. I wonder if our dads have met yet? I hope so. They'd have a lot of stories to share.