Tuesday, July 1

75 Incredible Years


Many times I've wondered out loud about my dad's life. I've often said that he lived more by the time he was 35 than I (and most in my generation) will ever live.

At 35, with a flourishing career, I had just gotten married and was living with DH and our dog Ollie in a beautiful, simple little condo in a nice part of town. My greatest losses could be counted on one hand: my treasured dog, Taffy, who had died when I was just a young girl; my grandfather, who died in my arms when I was 11; my one great heart break in my mid-20s; and the loss of my beloved grandmother. All seemingly normal rights of passage on the path to adulthood.

But in the same number of years, my dad's life experience was marred by much greater loss, and conversely, consisted of much more profound events and accomplishments.

As an adult, I can now step back and see him more fully. Maybe not completely, but no longer in the one- or two-dimensional way that a child looks at a parent. My vision of him now includes a new appreciation for his life experience—both good and bad—and all the weight he had to carry as he raised four young children.

We recently took a short trip to Tucson for my Dad's 75th birthday. It was a great trip, with all the siblings, spouses and grandchildren.

As a part of the celebration, I was able to give him one of the most special gifts I think I've ever created. It was a photography book (professionally bound) of his life. Starting with photos of his mom as a baby followed by his first 75 years.

All four kids contributed photos for the book and I put it together, scanning more than 250 images. Its an amazing tribute to an amazing, complex man who, in large part, helped to shape the woman that I am today.

The inscription reads:

This little boy grew to be a man, a marine,
a husband, a father,
a stepfather, and
a grandfather.
He weathered many storms, laughed and cried, prayed and cursed along the way. He served two tours in Korea, one in Vietnam, suffered great loss and achieved great triumphs.

He is our father and we love him.

And the closing note reads:

Happy 75th Birthday!!

With love and best wishes
for many more happy years to come.
Jane & Dave
Cindy & Carl & Kyle
Debby & Dave & Alex & Rachel

And one more thing, Dad, that I didn't say...,



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