For my entire life on this day I have recognized in one way or another the birth of my dad. I chuckle when I think of how excited he was with each and every goofy handmade gift. With every tie, every pair of gloves, and as I got older with every new electronic gadget he received from me. I can still see his face; it was more exciting for all of us to watch him open his gifts as he had a way of building up the anticipation with each tear of the tape. I remember sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to see what was in the package even though I was the one who wrapped it, holding giggles just below the surface. Then, the moment when the gift was revealed! Regardless of what it was, his eyes would light up and sparkle and the anticipated “OOooOOOO, Look at this, did you make this?” Or, “These are exactly what I need!” Always followed by a big hug when we were younger and a genuinely joyful smile as we got older and didn’t want the hugs anymore.
Last year on November 8th if I would have known it would be the last birthday I would spend with my father I wonder what would have been different. I wonder how much more I would have recognized the treasure that he is. I wonder if my daily activities and responsibilities would have had a little less priority and if I would have spent the entire day with him enjoying his company, asking him questions, and listening a little longer to his stories.
The sad thing is, I don’t remember if I even saw him on his birthday last year. I feel like we met for lunch, but I don’t remember. I know the following Sunday we spent the day together but I don’t recall his actual birthday. This brings a sadness that I can’t shake.
I do however, remember the Sunday after his birthday very well. He was scheduled to preach on the 15th and we were there to hear his sermon and afterwards have lunch with him. After which we spent the day at his house and then went driving around a little bit. While driving, he talked about the fields where he cut through with his little .22 on his shoulder heading toward the woods to hunt. He talked about his first job and how beautiful he thought the girl who would become his wife, our mom, was the first time he saw her. He told us stories and reminisced, and then we went out for ice cream. I am so thankful for that time. I wish we could have stayed longer. I wish we would have stayed through to supper, but we didn’t. I know the gift he gave me that day was the gift of knowing my precious father a little better. The gift I received on the Sunday after dad’s last birthday here with us on this earth is a gift I will treasure.
It is so easy to get caught up in self and not truly see the gifts and treasures around us.
Our time here together is so short and sometimes it is easy to set others aside because life gets busy. I know, especially this year, I am guilty of this. If I would have known that November 8th 2015 was going to be the last time I could wish my father a happy birthday would I have changed anything?
Without a doubt, I know I would have.
Don’t miss out on the opportunities to value the true gift of family.
Happy birthday in heaven Dad. I miss you painfully so.