I spoke to the Editor of this site and he decided to give me a point of personal privilege today, so I’m taking it.
On February 2, 1982, a remarkable event happened in my life. I became Dad to a precious little girl. Today, she celebrates her 33rd birthday and is Mom to her own precious little girl (and has another one on the way). Unlike her brother, she was kind enough to come into this world in the late afternoon while I was awake — unlike her brother who kept us up all night deciding it was time to come out and play. How blessed am I? You can’t fully understand unless you are lucky enough to be father to a girl (or girls).
I probably didn’t tell her enough times how much I loved her, but did the best I could. She often followed us to the ball fields and gyms to watch her brother play, but she became a pretty good basketball player herself. In the “Ram League” back in the day her coach made her the point guard because she was the only one that could actually dribble the ball all the way down the court (a benefit of playing her brother in the driveway, I guess). At halftime of one of those games, she told her coach she didn’t want to do that anymore. When asked why, she simply said, “I don’t like all those people yelling at me?” She was more into plays, dancing lessons and playing Barbies in her room. And she loved riding her bike. She sang for years in the Masterworks choir and even got to sing the National Anthem at a Chicago White Sox game with the group on tour one time. I could go on and on.
But the main reason I’m writing this today on this site is to honor the fact that when I wanted to go fishing, or riding around in the woods, or just go to the store to buy bait, she was always wanting and willing to go. She never wanted to shoot guns, but she was patient enough to go sit on a stump, cover her ears and watch us do it. It wasn’t her thing, but she did it for “Dad time”. I should have done that more, too. But I have been blessed with some “makeup time” as I get to do it today with her and her daughter! She didn’t mind touching a fish. She could catch her own crickets out of the cricket box without flinching, apparently something she’s passed on through heredity to her daughter. And she still loves to go camping, fish off the dock or take a boat ride.
There are grown-up things, too. I used to write her encouraging notes over the years. Wow. She kept them. Then when I walked her down the aisle to be married, she handed me an embroidered handkerchief that says,”To dry your tears as you have always dried mine.” Yep, I needed it. And today she returns those notes by often writing, “Dad, I love your writing” and more. Thanks.
Here’s a chance I won’t miss today: I can’t tell you how special that is. I love you.
33 years? Happy Birthday, Julie. May you and your little girls have many, many more!