Driving into work this morning, that Rod Stewart song "Forever Young" came on the radio and made me cry. Now, as we all know, there are probably lots of reasons to cry when Rod Stewart comes on the radio. I wanted to change the station but I couldn't. Then, to plunge the knife in a little deeper, the next song was "Tears in Heaven" by Eric Clapton. Okay, so that's how it's gonna be. Everything about fathers and children is going to make me cry today. That's okay. Today, I am allowed to cry at cheesy songs, because today would have been Daddy's 58th birthday.
Birthdays are a celebration of life, so I am really, really trying hard today to celebrate Dad's life and to be grateful for every single second that everyone had with him. It's actually working, a few minutes at a time, anyway. There are so many things that I want to say here about my dad, but I can't wrap my brain around where I'd even begin. You might remember back in January when I had written a post about being upset that Dad had only randomly read 48 of the 100 reasons I had given him for this past Father's Day as to why he was the best dad in the world. I figure those 48 reasons here, today, would be a good place to start. The other 52 will remain unopened, with my fervent hope that on some level, Daddy already knows what they are. God, I hope so.
In no particular order, as I grab them out of the box he kept them in:
78. "Gag me like a dog off a gut wagon" and other great Dad-type sayings that I have people looking at me strangely when I say them.
57. Knows pretty much everything about everything... except math or chemistry.
89. Listening to our millions of different versions of the "Diarrhea Song" as if they were all Top 40 Hits.
45. Passing on your conviction that almost all things are better with mayo, such as peanut butter, banana, and mayo sandwiches.
19. Teaching me how to ride a bike and then letting me pick out the Blue Angel - the best bike ever.
52. Sledding and multiple birthday parties at Pioneer Park.
4. Making up fun games for us to play on road trips.
86. Many whole-hearted attempts to make us think there were bears outside of our tents or campers by circling them while growling and scratching the canvas. You did your best.
41. Letting me take home the first fish I ever caught in a bucket, and then helping me make a little grave for it when it inevitably died on the way home.
35. The fact that we know that you still hold out a tiny hope that Bimpsy and Greg will get together.
77. Always letting us stop and climb Independence Rock during the "kid exchanges" every summer.
30. Hiking all the way to the "M" in Missoula.
23. Baton lessons.
31. Telling us the best scary stories for camping, i.e. "Luke the Hook" or "Falling Rock".
83. Helping us build some very cool forts over the years.
freckles on her BUTT.
She was nice. Bom, bom, bom. This is one of the many songs my dad made up.
16. Crying at pretty much everything! Oh, did I get this from him!
66. Bringing home the greatest dog that ever lived - Jake - from outside some bar.
55. Being strong for all of US after YOU were the one in intensive care after your aneurysm.
24. Watching all of our "routines" that we made up over the years like they were the most fascinating shows ever.
50. The scary whistle/hum sound that you'd make when telling us that the "mothership" was coming for us.
65. Our whole entire trip to Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, Sea World, etc.
34. Big Timber Waterslide.
21. Jumping into Grandma's pond with me (even though it was probably extremely gross).
10. Camping trips.
62. The cat you got for us in Missoula - even though you hated cats - that we never got to see because you were allergic.
17. Swimming lessons.
29. Giving Sam and me an appreciation for Ian Tyson that I doubt any other people our ages have.
97. Driving lessons in Grandma and Grandpa's neon-green golf cart.
67. Embracing and supporting my husband through hardships past and adventures to come.
40. Dance lessons.
59. Making me hose out the toilet on the front lawn while the Skyview cross-country team and my future classmates were running by. You can read that story here.
100. Letting me eat nothing but dessert and sweets for one particularly great Easter when I was little.
84. Turning us into "chee-buga, chee-buga, chee-buga" connoisseurs.
93. Teaching us to be strong, independent, and to think for ourselves.
87. Having to save Bimpsy and me from nearly drowning in the Holiday Inn pool when I convinced her that she could get a running start and jump over my head while I dog-paddled in the deep end. When her rear end landed with blunt force squarely on my skull, sending us both to the bottom of the pool, we realized it didn't work.
70. "Loaning" me money and gas cards even when I am far past the age at which I should be borrowing them.
88. Teaching us that it is NOT okay to ask one parent if we could do something and then asking the other parent if the first one said, "No."
73. Your amazing computer expertise. Tee hee.
1. I LOVE YOU DAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
22. Buying me all kinds of new clothes for Girl Scouts, right before I dropped out.
26. Buying the P.O.S.C. My first car, a 1986 Ford Courier (actually a truck), the "Posse", or "The Piece of Shit Car."
42. My very awesome "Z-97" 16th birthday party. Two radio DJ's who thought they were hot shit came to my birthday party and handed out Tears for Fears and Bel Biv DeVoe tapes. Dude, it was cool; still one of my best birthday parties ever.
6. "The Last Piece of Cheese" from my eighth birthday. Who knew you could invent a game with cheese? My dad knew.
49. The time, energy, and love you put into building me the beautiful dollhouse that I absolutely HAD to have and almost never played with.
76. Many, many rounds of miniature golf.
82. Ahhh, the old "cold pitcher of water in the shower" trick. An oldie but a goodie.
8. Tennis lessons.
60. Initiation of the great (or not-so-great) Mulch Pit to which I personally contributed about a gazillion bags of freshly mown grass.
68. Everything wonderful and crazy about Grandma - the most important female influence in my life - that you embody.
Daddy, I love you and I miss you much that it's ridiculous. Sam, Sonjah and I are muddling through, but it is so hard. Sonjah almost has the house packed up; she closes on the new house April first. She sold your office and your truck, and got a cute little car to get around in. She's discovered a strength in herself that none of us ever knew about. I think you saw it, though. You knew it was there. Sam D. is doing well. I am going to see her in two weeks so I can see how the big city Chicago girl is living. We are so excited, since this will be our first vacation together by ourselves. I am bringing her the guitar you left her so she is very excited to get that. I can't bring myself to pick mine up yet. As for me, I'm hanging in. I think about you a lot, especially as I now notice so many more things about me that are just like you. Not the least of which is the fact that I seem to cry at everything lately, just like you sometimes did! That was always one of my favorite things about you, personally. Tonight I am going to go home and listen to your four song "demo" that you cut a couple years before I was born, back when you were going to be a big star. I think you are. I've always thought you are. I need to hear your voice, so the demo will have to do. I know it hasn't even been four months yet, but I'm terrified that I'll forget. I know there isn't a bullseye cake for you this year, or a pudding cake with holes where Sam kept sticking her finger in it, but I know that you are enjoying your Cheeseburger in Paradise. In fact, maybe I'll put a little Jimmy Buffet on later... to celebrate. I love you, Poopsie.