Yesterday marked the 52nd anniversary of me being on this planet. I’ve stopped celebrating birthdays essentially since my 50th so I didn’t really have any big plans. I worked during the day, got off at 5pm and my 16 y/o son said he’d take me to dinner. He treated me to an awesome dinner at Famous Dave’s, where he experienced bread pudding for the first time and we both ate so much we got sick…he was kind enough (and knows me well enough) to not alert the staff to do the birthday song.
What this post is about however, is the birthday card my son got me. Mind you, his efforts to-date in this realm have been admirable…generally he would contribute to a card his older sister got me with a short but genuine birthday wish and expression of love.
This was the first year he actually had to get me a card on his own. I got home from work and he was palpably excited for me to open the card (which by the way included a Starbucks gift card–my second home during college)…
In the interest of bandwidth, here’s what the front of the card read:
“Here’s the deal, Dad. You don’t like hearing sappy things, and I don’t like talking to you about feelings and stuff like that. But it’s your BIRTHDAY and there’s not other way to really say it, so here goes…”. (see photo above)
I opened and read the card and was so stunned at his expression of feelings…of the perfection of the card and its message…and of his expression of gratitude, that before I literally burst into a sobbing pile of tears I managed an awkward “that was the best card I have ever gotten” before I stood up and we embraced into a long hug…
And then in an ancient tradition of “dudes” everywhere, we changed the subject and hit the road for dinner.
So let this post reflect what I didn’t say to him:
Thank you for being my son.
Thank you for the honor of allowing me to call you my son.
Thank you for being, without question, the best man I could have EVER hoped for.
Son, you have become the kind of man I could never have hoped for beyond my wildest expectations. You have overcome challenges that most men your age don’t have to and you have learned to thrive despite them.
You are strong, kind, tenacious, courageous, and way too damn good looking. You literally are everything I wanted to be at your age…smart, physically strong and handsome, popular and passionate about where you want to go in life.
It’s a cliché, but I truly could die tomorrow and in my last moments, be totally satisfied and proud at the people who you and your sister have become.
Thank you son.
I love you pal and will forever be on your side…