Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Happy Birthday to Due!
August is a month full of birthdays, I tell you what. And today is my sweet father's birthday! I made this card for him, and if he likes it, maybe I'll even send it to him in the mail! (See how I did that? See how I made it seem like I'd missed sending it on purpose?)
For his birthday, I'd like to tell you a story that captures a lot about him.
When I went away to college, my dad would send me small packages pretty regularly. They were almost always sent in one of those manilla envelopes with a clasp, the perfect size for the items he'd send: the local paper from my small hometown, a handwritten letter, and some quarters so that I could do my laundry. Occasionally there were other tidbits, but those three were the regulars.
That was super sweet and thoughtful. Sending care packages at all was more than any of the other dads did. But here's the thing: When my dad does something, he really does it. And he does it with love and careful attention to detail.
(Prepare yourself for some serious cuteness.)
My dad would always decorate the outside of the manilla envelope with adorable and clever drawings. Sometimes they were nature scenes with butterflies and trees. Other times he would decorate them according to the season -- Halloween, Thanksgiving, Flag Day, what have you. Anyone who was around when I got my mail always asked to look at the envelope and then promptly turned green with envy when they found out it was from my father. He is not an artist for a living or even as a hobby really, and yet he is a profoundly talented artist.
But, I have to say, the crown jewel of these packages were the quarters -- not just because they were thoughtful and useful (for some reason there wasn't a change machine in the laundry room), but because of how they were packaged. My dad would take a pink index card and tape quarters on in neat rows. I think he usually got about 12 quarters on each side of a card. Again, very thoughtful and really handy -- just throw one of those cards on the basket of clothes and you were good to go. My dad thinks these things through.
But wait. There's more.
When I would take a quarter off, there behind it on the card was a tiny, adorable sticker that he had placed perfectly in the center of where the quarter had been. For every single quarter. Every single time. A small little sticker of a kitty or a heart or a flower. I mean, adorable. And perfect. So every time I took a quarter off that card, I was connected to him in that moment. I was connected to his creativity, his attention to detail, and his practical thinking. I was holding a creation he had made deliberately, with care and with love. And that's just not something you see every day. And it's certainly not something you see regularly for four years while you're away at college. Amazing, right?
There are so many exceptional things about my father, I am looking forward to many more birthdays so that I might regale you further with tales of his genius. (I suppose it doesn't have to be his birthday to do such a thing, but I would like him to have a lot more birthdays anyway.)
I love you, Due! Happy Birthday!
May there be care and love everywhere, always!