Happy Birthday, Dad!
Tuesday June 05th 2012, 11:27 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Life,My Garden

Years ago my mom had a co-worker who was close to some kids whose parents were going through a nasty divorce. She wanted them to have a promise of hope: to see a couple who were long married, who’d raised kids together and gotten them off on their own, who were living a full life. Together. Who cherished each other. So she set up an appointment and Mom and Dad said sure, come on by.

The locals will understand when I say I grew up in an Eichler-esque house: floor-to-ceiling windows in the living room at the back of the house looking out on the woods, highly unusual architecture for Maryland, only, different from the Eichlers in that the living room rose to a cathedral ceiling.

It was the season of Christmas.

Every year Dad would get the ladder and hang globe ornaments from the top beam between the living and dining room. These were huge, deeply colored, beautiful, but something you couldn’t put in a normal ceiling without someone bonking their head. We got to have them. I’ve never seen them anywhere else. The whole area was decorated as only an art dealer and his wife could do: things collected from trips to Europe, happy-making and pretty, only the lights being your average store-bought. And even then… I was so thrilled when bubble lights finally came back on the market a few years ago.


For whatever reason, Mom got delayed, the co-worker and kids came early, I don’t know, but when they came only Dad was home. Mom apologized profusely later to her co-worker.

Who told her no, that was perfect.


My father had loved those children and had wanted the best for them before he ever laid eyes on them; I imagine the very request got him thinking how blessed his life was and how much he wished it for them too, and he welcomed them in and joyfully showed them around as they talked. I picture him showing off the painted and glittered plaster-of-paris ornaments we kids had made for years growing up, with varying levels of skill and childhood showing–Mom and Dad always insisted on putting those up long after we kids thought we’d definitely outgrown the scribblings or sloppiness or whatever lack of perfection might be in them. A little snip of twine was embedded in each to hold a hook for the tree.

Come to think of it, the best birthday party I ever had growing up was having my friends come paint a newly-cast set of those ornaments and letting them take theirs home. December birthdays rock.

Those kids went home that day with the joy of the season. It was infectious. My dad is the most joyful celebrant of Christmas you could ever hope to meet.

And the best celebrant of his children’s lives a daughter could ever ask for. Happy Birthday, Dad. I love you.

8 Comments so far
Leave a comment

What a beautiful post, Alison. Happy birthday to your father! I love to trim the tree and let the memories of each ornament wash over me.

Comment by Channon 06.06.12 @ 6:18 am

Indeed,”December birthdays rock!” Mine is the day before Christmas. I always felt very special: I never had to go to school on my birthday. And I always had a birthday party on my actual birth-day:parents were only too happy to have their kids come to my house for a couple of hours on Christmas Eve afternoon! I did the best I could with dd #1, who arrived on New Years’Day LOL!

Comment by Carol Telsey 06.06.12 @ 6:22 am

Actually, what my friend wanted those boys to see was a good man. Neither they nor any of their friends had a father in the home (a very sad commentary on our times).

Comment by Mom 06.06.12 @ 7:51 am

what an awesome post Alison — and happy birthday to your dad!

Comment by Bev 06.06.12 @ 8:22 am

A Happy Birthday to your Dad, and a thanks to him for his part in getting me started on my blog.

Comment by Don Meyer 06.06.12 @ 9:26 am

I remember hearing the story when it happened, and the friend’s response to Mom was, “that boy said when we had left, ‘that was a home with love'” He could tell as soon as he walked in, it just felt like that.

Comment by Marian 06.06.12 @ 10:33 am

What an amazing ode to your dad!

Best wishes for a very happy birthday to him!

Comment by Suzanne in Montreal 06.06.12 @ 5:52 pm

Wonderful, just wonderful. Best wishes to all!

Comment by twinsetellen 06.07.12 @ 8:10 pm

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>