On My Dad’s Birthday

My dad would have been 92 today.

At the dawn of the Great Depression, he was a toddler. By the time he was my son’s age, his father was long gone and he was pushing a broom at a gas station at night to help his mother feed their family. He went on to provide for eight kids of his own. When he passed, in 2005, he and my mom had been married for 55 years.

Photo by Jen Conway

Photo by Jen Conway

I often think about how much he would have loved the people closest to me and how happy he would be to spend time with them. As I think about them, this morning, I realize that I see him in all of them.

They are people with enormous hearts. They’re guided by a clear sense of right and wrong. They are playful and light-hearted. They love to kid around, but deep down they are sincere and trustworthy. They have conviction. They are authentic - when they walk into a room it becomes a different place. And, they love me. They regard me differently than others do.

The customary thing to say is that I miss him. But, the truth is that he’s here.

Today, I’ll celebrate him through the people in my life who carry his spirit. I’ll let them know they’re important to me. And maybe, at some point, I’ll scratch my chin with a potato chip, just like he would when he was in his recliner, watching M.A.S.H, or Big Jake.

Happy Birthday, Pop. I love you.