Happy Birthday, Dad!!!

Dear Dad,
     Happy Birthday! Today would’ve been your 67th birthday. Had you been here, we probably would’ve celebrated on Sunday. Mom would’ve quickly turned the Mother’s Day celebration over to celebrate your birthday. Your dessert of choice would of course be Strawberry Shortcake. Anytime the dessert choice was yours, we could about count on Strawberry Shortcake.

     I never complained. In fact, did you know – Strawberrry Shortcake is one of my favorite’s too? Of course I never really requested it on my birthday because it was your thing. It made it easy to fall back on my 2nd favorite and I knew within the course of 6 months I’d have both my favorites.
     Speaking of birthday, I remember when Ailey was about due. After she had passed my hopes of being born on my mom’s birthday (May 1st) and then Mother’s Day of that year (May 9th), I had prayed she’d be born on your birthday. So when my water broke the day before your birthday I remember joking with you when we met up at the hospital (Thanks again for coming to get all the other kids that early morning) that maybe my labor would last into the next day, you saying that she needed to have her own birthday. 

     I see the wisdom in those words now, though I didn’t see it then. I’m thankful she chose to come the day before your birthday, though. I sometimes wonder if that helped solidify the bond you had with her. I miss that interaction you know. For some reason she chose to cling to you and it was always fun to see her with you.

     That’s not to say you didn’t have a relationship with the other kids, cause we both know that’s not true. You did more for my kids than anyone should ever need to do. I can’t count the times you helped us out when things just weren’t going our way or the little day adventures we’d take to different places around the state. Or the vacations we went on where you would pay for food and room, though we fully expected to pay for all. The biggest thing though is all the nights at the ball park. I’m sure the kids will remember those days for years to come, but it’s definitely something we’ll all miss.
     Lex is playing ball again this season. He’s now old enough that he’s playing the ‘real thing’. He had tryouts and everything. Guess what team he ended up on? The Mariners! (We don’t have Cubs in this league, or I’m sure he would’ve ended up there) I couldn’t have been happier to hear what team he landed on. I’m sure you’d get a kick out of it too.

     Nate is also playing this year. His first time. He was a little afraid to go to his first practice. He was sure he wouldn’t have any friends and that he would suck. (His words) I dragged him to his first practice anyway and he has quite a few friends on his team and as he soon discovered (he didn’t suck – also his words). I’m sure you would love to be at their games and I kinda think in some way you will be. Their first games are on Saturday. I’m hoping for a successful season.

     And while I’m still scared for my boys to play football, we’ll be seeing a lot of games this year. Shaylyn is going to be cheering for our Little League Football 7th grade team this year. Cheerleading is expensive! She is costing us more than the 2 boys in baseball.
     Tanis is still going strong with his clarinet. You’d be proud of the progress he’s made. He’s learned quite a bit and is enjoying it more and more. He had a concert last week and the kid can’t keep still. He hears the music and he just has to move.
And then there’s Jace. You’d be getting a kick out of him right now. He’s so funny. He loves to be involved with the kids and especially loves dogs. Sometimes he stares off into space with the biggest grin on his face and it makes me wonder if you’re hanging around playing with him. I certainly hope so. He may not get to know you the way the older kids did, but I’m praying he knows you in a different sort of way.

By the way, your baby boy has really grown up. Even in the few months since you’ve been gone. He helps his mom out whenever she calls and very rarely does he complain about doing so. He’s done a great job at wearing many different hats at the same time and juggling everything around. You taught him well. Thank you for your example.

     Did you know he always puts me first? He teaches his kids to respect me. When they mouth off to me, he’s the first one to tell them I deserve more respect than that. He’s even told them once or twice that they can say what they want to him, but they should never say bad things about/to me. I’m sure he learned that from you.
     Mom and I were talking the other day and I was explaining that before Eric does something that doesn’t include me, he’ll always ask if I’m okay with it. Guess what she told me? She said you’d do the same thing! Thank you for yet another great example for your son to follow.
     Finally, I want to thank you for all you did for us. Even from the very beginning. I never felt anything but acceptance and love from you. One of my first memories of doing something with you and Eric was after our Christmas choir concert at Temple Square. Because you worked downtown you were able to come and see the concert and then took us to Wendy’s afterwards. Did you know it was my first time going to Wendy’s? I discovered that though I don’t typically like Chocolate ice cream a Frosty was good and I would’ve been missing out on a wonderful treat had I not had that experience.
     You continued to support us both. I also remember a time you and Eric slipped out of your ward meeting (probably Priesthood) to visit my ward during my brother’s farewell when I sang. I wasn’t expecting to see you, but was thrilled you were there.
      I am thankful to you and Aunt Cindy for helping me get the job at the State. I learned so much there and enjoyed my time there and I wouldn’t have had it without you looking out for me. I also love the fact that it gave us a little more time together. Thank you for taking me to and from work daily. It was nice to be able to work in the same building. It allowed me a chance to get to know you just a bit better. It was the first and probably the only times I will have listened to talk radio and sports radio. It was fun when I discovered that you occasionally listened to music and that you enjoyed The Beach Boys. Music I enjoyed as well.
     Working in the same building was also a good thing because if I got sick, I got you out of work. Thanks for never complaining when I wanted to leave. I also remember you doing the unpleasant job of waiting around with me in the Social Security office and DMV so I could change my name on those wonderful legal documents after Eric and I got married.
     Thank you for being in our corner immediately when Eric and I decided to get married. You gave us a place to live and you were there every time we chose to move. Even that one time when I was super pregnant and couldn’t lift anything and as soon as I tried, you were the first to scold me and tell me not to do anything but supervise.

     Thank you for just accepting me as your own and for trusting your sons judgement and for helping us get to where we are today. I’m sure we couldn’t have done it without your help along the way.
      We love you and miss you terribly, but know you’re in a far better place. I hope they celebrate birthday’s in Heaven and that you are being served huge, delicious pieces of Strawberry Shortcake that you can actually enjoy, cause your diabetes and other issues won’t interfere. Enjoy your day and remember we still love you and still need your help here and there. (Especially today when we go tackle the Dentist…)


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