Last year my dad retired. He was a sea captain his whole life, going off for weeks and months at a time to sail the seas. It's just how it was. We'd see him off at the dock or the airport, kiss his cheek, hug him tightly and know that for the foreseeable future he would be where he loved to be, on the sea.
Time would go by and he would return home. We were so happy to see him and have him around to play with for a time. And then, inevitable, the cycle would begin all over again.
Until recently it never occurred to me that this is not how most kids grow up. I suppose it is because I never felt like I had less of a dad than anyone else. In truth, I always felt like I had the best dad in the world...I still do.
This past weekend my dad turned 67. We took him to lunch to celebrate, and to our surprise hear stories about his youth. Somewhere between the appetizers and the main course, my dad started telling us stories about his teenage years. He told us how he would skip his violin lessons to run off to the beach to hang out with his friends. He relived the days when he was a young man with a guitar slung over his shoulder serenading the girls. And then he told us of how he fell in love with my mom, his best friend's sister, the first time they danced.
We took in every word with fascination. You see, we have always know there is this whole other side to my dad that none of us really knows. Not just the youthful man part, but also the part that lived his whole live floating on a vast ocean under a broad sky with all the stars in the world to keep him company. I can only imagine what that may have been like, but knowing my dad confirms that it makes you a thoughtful, loving, caring, wonderfully soulful human being...and a great father; not measured by amount of time spent with his children, but by the quality of every moment.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD! Now that we have you around all the time, we can't wait to hear ALL your stories.