Yesterday would have been my Dad’s 90th birthday.
No matter where I am or what I have going on in my life, March 28th is always a bittersweet day for me. He wasn’t a perfect father. He didn’t know how to give of himself the way dads should. He struggled with his own self-worth every day of his life. But he knew how to comfort me when I was sick and Mom was at the store getting my medicine – and he knew how to read me “Green Eggs and Ham” a hundred times…and once again before bed.
He was never able to come to terms with his alcoholism. He died at the relatively young age of 67. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wish things weren’t different. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t miss him terribly. I wish he’d met my husband. I wish he was here for me to talk to.
Yesterday, as my husband and I were walking around the Dallas Arboretum with my niece, Dad sent a message. Or maybe it was God. Either way, it brought me to tears for a moment.
See, Dad was known for wearing light blue Dickies style jumpsuits pretty much every day. He’d read an article that smart people didn’t waste their brain cells on wardrobe choices, so he bought 7 of them so he had one for every day of the week. Those light blue jumpsuits became somewhat of a family joke over the years. It was a challenge to get him to wear anything else.
So yesterday, as I was sitting in one of the beautiful gardens at the arboretum on Dad’s birthday, I turned my head just in time to see a very old man shuffling along the path…in a light blue jumpsuit. And I knew. It was a sign…from him or from God, who knows, but it was a sign. I’m always with you and I love you.
Me too, Daddy.
What are the odds? No one wears those things anymore except maybe workmen – and they don’t wear the light blue ones. I never see them anywhere. Yet yesterday, on my dad’s birthday, an elderly man just happens to walk by me wearing the very same one my Dad always wore.
So happy birthday, Daddy. I love you and I miss you. Always.