Dear Dad

You turn 75 in a week or so, and I realize our time together is narrowing. I wish it wasn’t. I’ve never said it enough, nor could I – but I love you – and I thank you. For the times I thought you were clueless, but you were just looking out after my best interests. For teaching me that money isn’t as important as honesty, friendship, and the ability to look yourself in the mirror without regret.

I thank you for introducing me to such a widely diverse group of people very early in my life. I appreciate that you taught me about self-respect, and how that can be the most important quality a human can have.

I thank you for never pushing me – or ever dissuading me. You let me find my way in life. This lesson especially has helped me when it comes to raising my own teenagers. They are not me, or their mother. They are who they choose to become and thanks to your friendship and love, and patience, I realize I need to let them figure out what they want out of life, and who they will become.

Mostly I thank you for always being my friend, always being there when things were bad, and good. For always letting me know there will be a tomorrow, and neither the good or bad last long.

Life is fleeting, and should be enjoyed. I learned this from you as well. How many kids can say their dad rebuilt an old stable and turned it into a vintage 1880’s saloon, complete with horses and hitching posts, wooden kegs and no visible modern conveniences?

Thanks for teaching me how to use power tools and me not losing fingers! Thank you for supporting me when I sought custody of my kids. Thanks for supporting me when I was in the middle of a divorce, even though you loved my ex as if she were your own daughter.

Mostly, thanks for being my friend. Thanks for the idle chats over a cold beer, when neither of us says much – but we both appreciate that we are enjoying the silence together.

Happy birthday, Dad – I truly hope you know how much I love you, and how much I appreciate having you as my best friend. Yes, some 25 years ago when I asked you to be my best man it wasn’t because I didn’t have any other friends – it was because you were, and remain, my best friend.