It's my birthday today. 37 years of being alive on this crazy planet. And entering my 2nd year of you not being alive on this crazy planet. I've come to realize more and more how much I feel your absence when any kind of holiday or occasion arrives. I've been riding this inconsistent wave of sadness over the last few weeks that seems to have gotten more intense the closer I got to my birthday. And it's not like you ever did a ton for me on my bday once I was an adult. But it was that phone call I knew I'd get the weekend before. The funny card I could always count on in my mailbox with some cash or a check and instructions to "blow this on something you don't need". Mom always sends me cards but hers are of the very Mom-ish variety. Lots of scripty handwriting and messages about how proud she is to have a son like me. All of which is very nice. But I always prefered your cards full of verbal puns and goofy cartoon pictures any day. I thought of trying to get her to switch over to sending cards like that but I know they wouldn't fill the void for real.
It's interesting though. I have begun to think more and more of birthdays as a celebration of life than I used to before you died. There seems to be a more resonating signifigance to noting the day I came into being now that someone I love has left this physical plane. Especially when I remember how I was such an ill child and how often I wondered if I'd make it to my next birthday. So I guess I have you to thank for this new insight. Although I'd prefer to be ignorant of it in trade for you still being around.
I remember how you really didn't love celebrating your birthday as you got older. "Just send me a funny card," was always your refrain whenever I prodded you for more gift oriented suggestions. As I move into my late thirties I can understand an element of this for sure. It seems silly to get worked up over a birthday that doesn't end in a 5 or a 0. 37 isn't much of a milestone. Unless we're keeping track of how many years longer I lived than Jesus. But when I think of how 37 years ago I came into the world and you were partially responsible for that, I feel like there is definitely a moment worth celebrating. You gave me life, Dad. And while you're no longer physically part of that life, you are always with me every step of the way. So today I will celebrate you as well, and be thankful that you made it possible for me to live this life I love so much, despite your very pronounced absence.
I love you, Dad,