Yesterday was a double portion
in the nostalgia corner of my heart.
Not only did my kids go back to school, but
my dad had his 70th birthday.
I grew up admiring my dad.
People knew him and liked him.
Everywhere we went, people smiled when they saw Phil.
And he did too.
Always cracking a tease . . .
or giving you a nickname . . .
which was a sure bet that he liked you.
He calls my mom "Alice".
Her name is Linda.
My kids have grown up knowing,
"Papa only teases the people he likes."
I didn't inherit the teasing
I am always the serious one.
But I did want to be like my dad.
I wanted that recognition like he had...
when people heard his name,
they knew what he did
who he was
that he was the A.I. guy...
that raised gelbvieh cattle.
His name was positively associated with his work.
I wanted to emulate that.
I was proud to be his daughter.
I think that growing up, I thought everyone loved my dad like I did.
I wanted to be loved like that.
I wanted people to see me the way I saw my dad.
We gave my dad a birthday card
to make him laugh.
It plays "The Chicken Dance".
My kids loved it . . . so did he.
Erin is 3.
Yesterday she called to "tell him it was his birthday".
He was already gone for the day, but when he called back in the evening,
I said "Hello"
and on the other end of the line
"The Chicken Dance".
As we passed the phone around to wish him
each one was treated to "The Chicken Dance".
and loving my mom . . .
that I thought was true of all dads.
just like Charles and Caroline Ingalls on TV
on Little House on the Prairie.
I was blessed with parents like this.
I wanted a marriage like theirs ~ and I have one.
Last night, on my dad's 70th birthday and my kids' first day of school,
we finished reading
Little House In The Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
It ended in the fall.
The words were fitting,
"She thought to herself, 'This is now.'
She was glad that the cosy house,
and Pa and Ma and the firelight and the music,
They could not be forgotten,
she thought, because
now is now.
It can never be a long time ago."
I am glad that I was happy, like Laura,
to have now be now
as a girl growing up.
This is now.
I embrace it.
My dad at 70.
My kids at 11, 8 and 3 ~ going back to school.
to a new now
a new season
a new age.
Happy Birthday, Dad.
text copyright 2010, Jodene Shaw.