68. you hung my crayoned masterpieces all over your workspace, not caring that the first ones were only ever done in red (my red period...)
69. you patiently taught my young self how to grow radishes & tomatoes, how to tell the difference between the weeds & the vegetables & how to harvest & eat them, just-picked & perfect
70. you did not bat an eyelash when your grandchildren wanted to join the polar bear club on your 70th birthday...you were the first in the very cold pool! (& the last out too!)
71. you taught me how to bear sufferings patiently, still with a smile & a kind word for everyone around you.
72. you taught me what love looks like...how to be a good spouse, a good parent, a good sibling, a good friend. everyone felt important in your presence.
73. you taught me the value of good, honest, hard work...
74. & the value of time to relax & just putter around with something you love
75. you tried to teach me how to fix things like appliances & cars, but alas, i gave up! you taught me patience in that...& you did not make me feel like a failure. instead you pointed out things you could not do very well or at all. you taught me that we are each given our own precious gifts for our very own lives, unique & special.
76. you taught me to see the worth in every single person one meets...no one was ever beneath you. you never, ever went to town without a smile & kind word for literally everyone who crossed your paths.
77. you taught me about family relationships...never entering the fray of bickering caused by something that was misunderstood. you taught me diplomacy. you taught me that everyone carries a great burden. you taught me that the benefit of the doubt is always better than the pain of doubting.
i can still see your wind-blown hair fluttering in the sea breeze on your last visit to our home. i caught a glimpse of you looking out to sea & i saw something in your eyes that made me long to see what you could. in a moment you turned to see a treasure brought to you by your grandson. you got down on your haunches (never minding the pain) & gave him that precious gift of your undivided attention, the sparkle of wonder in your eyes. then you rose & took his hand, seeking for the jewels paved on life's everyday road.
i miss you but your gifts live on.
happy birthday daddy!