Warning: I’m feeling mighty nostalgic and a little weepy and it might reflect in this post. Don’t say I didn’t tell you.
Today is my dad’s 60th birthday.
For a lot of people, it’s a milestone. For a lot of people, 60 is either welcomed with open arms or something to be feared.
For me? Knowing that my dad would be 60 today is so abstract and hard to fathom. He’s still 55 and some 10 weeks old to me. I knew he didn’t look so hot when he left the house that morning. But that was him, all 55 years of him.
Five years ago, we spent our last full birthday month with Dad. And it was the best one I could have asked for. I spent the whole summer working at Wilson Farms at the time. I had one expense, my phone bill, and saved a ton of money. I wanted to spend it the best way I knew how. Watching hockey with my Dad.
So I had my mother help me research flights, hotels, and the best tickets for sale to the Sabres vs. Blackhawks game in Chicago. And three days later, I got the tickets delivered to me. I made my mom drive me to get a little faux birthday cake (because I couldn’t wait for his birthday and we wound up gifting this a week and a half early) and we wrote “Surprise Birthday” on his cake. Naturally, he was confused when we got home and showed him.
And then I gave him an envelope and said I got him hockey tickets for his birthday. HE ALMOST PUT THEM ASIDE AND LEFT IT AT “Thanks.” I think he was a little startled when I said, “NO! You have to open them nooooww…”
I don’t think I ever seen him big-eyed and rereading something that wasn’t a bill.
And as it turned out, I put him in an awkward position at work, but he managed to get that weekend in January off for the game. And he saved money. Our first father/daughter hockey trip!
And it never happened.
The gifting part was all I got out of it.
And after my mom told me he was gone, the first real full sentence I could muster was “He was so excited for Chicago.”
Five years later, the thought of this still stings. Five years later, I’m reflecting on all of the things that I’ve managed to do since. Wondering if he’d be proud of what I’ve accomplished or worried about the things I do wrong. Would he have liked Mark? Would he be disappointed that I got married so young? What would his face look like right now if we talked about me getting my master’s degree, the thing he desperately wanted at the end?
Ha, how would he feel about the Sabres’ abysmal performance the last year or so?
When things get rough and I begin to feel overwhelmed, I try to remember that day. New Years Eve 2008. And 1/22/10 as well.
Because nothing compares to the overwhelming feeling I got those two days. Nothing.
Problems aren’t that bad. Solutions can be found.
I’ve been through worse. I survived.
Happy 60th birthday to the best father I could have ever asked for. I haven’t seen him in almost five years but I never would have been able to do these last five years without him. ❤