Monday, November 21, 2011
Happy Birthday, Dad
My dad would have turned 93 years old today. As I reflected about him throughout the day, I thought of his amazing work to educate children across the country about the value of reptiles, arachnids and amphibians in the ecosystem. I thought about what a great husband he was to my mom, always signing his cards to her, "All my love, Chuck," and meaning it. And I pondered the many wonderful memories I have of my father who died so long ago when he was only 65. Dad was sensitive, hilarious, creative, intelligent, independent, and devoted to Mom and me. He was nearly 40 when I was born. Consequently, he always treated me as kind of a little adult. One story that reflects our special father-daughter relationship takes me back to when I was 10 years old. That was when Dad taught me how to drive. He picked me up from school one June day so we could go black widow spider hunting in the hills. While on our journey, Dad pulled the car off the quiet gravel road and invited me to get behind the wheel. Although barely tall enough to reach the pedals and see over the dash, I drove the car slowly, proud of my accomplishment and amazed that Dad would offer such an unexpected, adult-like opportunity to this elementary school student. With no traffic in sight, I drove only a little distance but the adrenalin rush was huge. Dad always allowed me to be a child but saw the potential adult in me. He encouraged me to improve myself, have confidence, develop my skills and celebrate whatever talents I had. I was the only 10-year-old I knew with steering wheel experience. Thanks, Dad, for always believing in me. Happy Birthday. I love you.