Today is your dad’s 34th birthday. Happy Birthday, Bubba! Gosh, he is just a true bearded babescicle.
You will have plenty of time to form your unique relationship with this special guy, but I felt compelled to capitalize on the timing opportunity to impart a few of my own thoughts on why he is just so damn easy to love. Everyone should be sprinkled with a bit of compliment pixie dust on their birthdays, don’t you think?
Amid the inevitable chaos of our daily lives together, the ebbs and flows, the growth and challenges and adventures of our family, here is what I hope stands out most to you about your dad…
I hope you notice the way he lights up when I, Mama, am my most silly, weird, embarrassing self -- that look of delight he gets, reserved only for me, like I am a strange, magical treasure to behold while making him laugh with random, ridiculous antics. (I have no doubt he will have an enchanted look for you, too, our future little weirdo. Welcome to the club!)
I hope you witness how he makes time for anyone who matters to him, even a little. The phone calls or texts, the making of plans and hosting of guests and traveling to visit those near and far; he is a believer in connective inclusion, through and through. There is always room for another in our home, at our table, in our hearts.
How hard he works. Early mornings, late nights, always on the move to better his life and to better ours. I truly pray this level of commitment to a goal, a team, a purpose no matter the hours involved gets passed on to you. (Let’s just say Mama does not necessarily thrive in this area. As Ali Wong articulates, I don’t want to Lean In, I want to Lay Down.)
Pay attention to how he notices a need in others, and steps up to help without being asked. I remember watching him a few months back, after we had pulled over to assist a family with a vehicle on its last legs, and felt so much pride in the way he not only helped take care of their physical automotive needs (baby, he ended up muscle pushing the car several blocks to a safer area -- leaving me to swoon hubba hubba, that’s my stud Bubba), but also made the father laugh with comforting ease during what could have been a tense situation for his family.
I hope you encounter each day his sensitive, loving heart -- I hope your very precious presence brings this out in him even more. This past summer Bubba called me quite upset, detailing an encounter with a beloved friend of ours who struggles with a frequently debilitating chronic illness. Bubba was contacted by his family, as our friend needed urgent mobility assistance during a particularly painful episode. This vulnerability -- aiding a large, handsome, joyful, faithful man in a moment of utter weakness -- moved your father to tears. Through his tears he asked me things like “Why is this happening to such a great man?” and “It makes me reevaluate all of my priorities - how can I ever complain? How did I get so lucky, and others less so? Why is this the way of the world?” Baby girl, you will likely encounter more men than not over the course of your life (though I hope the tides continue to change on this) who have a degree of difficulty showing deep vulnerability to you. Please remember that while it is not your job to heal or fix or change anyone, it will always be an honor to hold safe space for someone ready to show up in raw emotion. It will always be worth your time to invite another person, through your own example, compassion and faith, to express themselves wholly, imperfectly, truthfully. It is the definition of grace to acknowledge their strength in sharing, as well as your gratitude for their trust.
My love, no doubt this man will be putty in your hands. Be gentle with his heart. He can hardly handle the sweetness of our labrador, Ivy, as you will see him melt for everything about her (notably her “velvet” ears) from day one….imagine how he will be with you!
I am so excited to witness this, too. I am thankful for this chance to see him through your eyes, and you through his. I am humbled your spirit chose to settle back earthside into our family, and know we have many celebrations ahead in our shared futures.
Birthdays included :)
Love you, Love your Dad.