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.




  1. There’s nobody like a dad! All well wishes for him from here, Rob, and for you. We’ll be thinkin’ about you guys tomorrow. Hope it’s nothin’ but just a little too much aspirin makin’ those platelets too “unsticky,” or somehthing like that. Really, I hope it’s just nothin’ and RB and I will be hoping for all the best for you guys Friday. 🙂

  2. This is how I felt about my Mom.

  3. Marjolein – thanks for your comments. This letter to my dad was partially driven by the rather sudden loss of my mother some years ago, and I my regret over thing that were left unsaid. I didn’t want to leave them unsaid again!


  4. Rob,

    I don’t know you, don’t know your family. Came across your site because you mentioned Microsoft’s Max, I think. This was a few days ago. As usual, I browsed through your other posts, to see if there was other stuff I might find interesting, and then I found this. I read it in one breath, cried. I considered writing a comment there and then, but it felt like I was trying to get into your personal zone, which wasn’t a message I’d like to send across. Then in a chat with a friend, this morning, I mentioned how touched I was by the open letter to your dad, and my friend and I agreed I should have done that comment, if only I could find back your post. I found it back, with these keywords that I remembered so well, and to me, they say it all:
    “happy birthday” 75 “thank you” “my ex” children divorce birthday

    And then, today, there was your own comment about your dad’s response. This is so sincere, so genuine. Thank you for the tears of recognition you brought to me and all the best for you.

  5. My whole life I have seen my father cry twice. Not when his father died, or his mother. When my mother died, my dad cried. Today my dad called me, and even though I already snail-mailed this to him, he hadn’t received it – so I read it to him, and he was crying. I didn’t mean to make him cry and felt bad until he told me he was crying because he was proud of me for writing this – for having the courage to, I guess. I’m not really sure.

    In any case, it made my Dad’s day, so I am happy. He hasn’t always had a great life, yet he’s always tried to make things better for his kids (even if some of them don’t appreciate it).



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