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Friday, March 18, 2011

Special Day! (Tribute to my Daddy.)

The man that I have admired (and aspired to resemble in nature) for my whole life is celebrating a birthday today.  Well, in truth, he is just HAVING a birthday today.  The celebration will be TOMORROW!  :)

My father has shared with me his love of words, numbers and cribbage.  (My husband came along later and stole my joy of cribbage, making it his own, but that it is a story for another day!)   Oh - we must not forget about pistachios!

My father did NOT pass on his wealth of knowledge of sports -- he could EASILY be a sportcaster, play by play announcer.  Many times he has shared a tidbit that nobody on earth would have reason to know about the person at bat, or pitching, MOMENTS before the television announcer shared the same fact.
It is okay that I do not have this in common with my father.  Because it gives my husband, who DOES share this talent (to a lesser degree... sorry, hon), and my Dad something to talk about.  At length.

My father instilled in me something that is far more valuable than anything mentioned above. I know- it's hard to believe that anything would rank higher.  I knew without a doubt that he and Mom believed in me.  They could see beyond the emotional mess that I often was to my potential.  It wasn't just words.  It was words in action.   It wasn't just knowing that I had found something that I had a knack for (Thank you, Mrs. Vandeloski, for convincing the parents that were convinced that I had a terrible singing voice, and thought it was a shame that I loved music so much, that music might just be my THING),  it was finding an instrument and teacher, and driving to lessons, and starting the whole process over again with each new instrument that I found.  It was being part of parent groups and doing fundraiser (after fundraiser) and bake sale (after bake sale) and attending marching band competitions in pre-winter conditions for FIVE years.  (Just for the record, I did marching band as an 8th grader, it did not take me  years to complete high school.  College, yes.  High school? No.)  

Fast forward a few years.  I had just started student teaching in my final year of college.  I was walking behind my cooperating teacher, and I must have look like a tourist.  I had the same sense of awe and excitement that I am sure most people feel when they are walking on the street underneath the Empire State Building.  You see, I wasn't sure whether I was supposed to continue studying performance on my trombone at a graduate school, or if I was supposed to go out and educate.  My first day student teaching answered that question for me.  I was in love with the whole thing.  The only problem was that I hadn't yet stepped in front of a class to teach anything myself yet.  I was terrified that I wouldn't be very good at it!  My mother and father thrilled to hear my excitement, and they came to the concerts that I led pieces in during that semester of student teaching.

I graduated, and found my current position.  (I could talk about interview clothes shopping, but then it would more about Mom, and .... it's my DAD'S birthday.  So I guess we will have to review some of the other wonderful stories on Mother's Day, perhaps.)   It meant relocating, to a very touristy location, in the middle of the summer, which was legendarily very difficult.  My future colleagues sent along every listing for apartments they saw in the local paper, and I found a promising apartment.  The landlord and his wife were future band parents!  My mom and dad and I took the trip up to see the apartment, and put a hold on it right away.  They made sure that I had enough to live on until my first paycheck.  Dad drove the U-Haul truck both ways -- an hour and half (in that thing, anyway) each way.

Fast forward a few more years.  I have gotten married, and produced an heir.  I mean... a grandchild.
While I admit to being quite snarky in my teenage years, I have ALWAYS loved and appreciated my parents.  Nothing has changed there. Unless you count it all being multiplied when you become a parent yourself, and you realize the actual depth of the love from parent to child.  Watching my sons fall in love with my parents  (and vice versa, of course!) fills my heart with more joy than I thought it could hold.  Sometimes I am so overwhelmed at the beauty of my life, that I am in physical pain.

So, Dad...

Thank you.
Thank you for trusting me to learn things the hard way when I needed to.
Thank you for protecting me from things when I need to be protected.
Thank you for surprising me and coming to my concert last year.....  As if I need any more reasons to cry! I was a pregnant mess!
Thank you for making my husband part of your family.
Thank you for loving my children.
Thank you for loving me..... and thank you for the AMAZING LIFE that you gave me.

I love you and Mom the size of the ocean!!  (I don't think your grandson will mind if I use his phrase!)

Your daughter,

Meredith