Birthday Letters From My Dad!
As yet another birthday rolls around, I find myself pulling out some of the old birthday letters my dad had written to me over the years. The love and sense of humor my father expressed in these letters, along with his sage advice, always added the perfect touch to many special birthday celebrations!
In one particular letter, my dad offered these silly, if not wise words of wisdom:
“If you’re not getting older, then you’re obviously NOT living!”
My father was one of the most unpretentions and kind souls to ever grace this earth; he lived a fun, big life–yes, I am biased!
My mom took this picture of me and my father as we left for a special daddy-daughter date around my eighth birthday…I consider myself a lucky girl to have been my father’s daughter!
Here’s a few of my dad’s neat insights and gems of wisdom that I’ve compiled into one collective letter to share with you.
• In my childhood home my mother had a big wing back chair positioned by a big picture window in our living room, and on most evenings after dinner and some household chores, this is where you’d find my dad relaxing with a good book for an hour or so–often he’d read aloud to my mom while she folded laundry or did some mending. As I got older, my dad and I even had our own unofficial book club. You can check a few of our favorites in this post.
• Being a college professor and a dry farmer, my dad had the opportunity to “rub shoulders” so to speak, with people from all walks of life–he truly cherished and nurtured these many and varied associations throughout his lifetime and would tell me that some of the best wit and wisdom he’d ever heard of came from men with callused hands and dirt on their overall!
• I imagine every parent understands that to a certain degree they will always be over-utilized and under-appreciated. My dad was always quick to express his deep love for each family member, but also felt it was important to his role as a father to teach his children to be kind and loving too–never more so, I’m sure, than when we were going through those angstful teenage years!
• My parents traveled extensively throughout their marriage–my dad, especially had wanderlust running through his veins, but he’d often comment that when he glimpsed the mountain peaks encircling the fair valley where we lived upon his return from one of their many adventures, he never felt more at peace! My dad and mom had created a lovely home together, so for them, there truly was “no place like home”!
• My dad was a smart man; his peers and students adored him, and years of hard work on our farm taught my father to be handy with his hands; it seemed he was able to fix anything. But one of my dad’s most endearing traits was his humility. If ever my parents argued, my dad was quick to acknowledge any wrongdoing on his part…for this reason, and many more, their love story is one of the great legacies they’ve left behind to inspire future generations to come.
• My dad loved living; he always seemed a little giddy about all the possibilities that life opened up to him, right up until the day he died at 88 years old! He and my mom were some of my biggest cheerleaders when I was tackling a new phase in my life and got a little down trodden. My dad was also a scholar of sorts of Mark Twain, and if ever I was feeling a little less than exuberant about the way things were going, he’d just smile and remind me of all that I had in my favor and offer up one of his favorite quotes:
“The best way to cheer yourself up is to cheer somebody else up” Mark Twain
The letters my dad wrote to me are some of my most cherished possessions and I am so grateful he felt I was worth his time to pen a few tidbits of wisdom that in some small way might help me live better and fulfill the potential he saw in me as his daughter.
How fun would it be to surprise someone we love by writing them a letter for their birthday, or really for any other special occasion. Wouldn’t you love to be able to see the astonished look on their face as they retrieved it from their mailbox and anxiously opened it up! (You can click on this journal entry to download some stationary to help get you started.)
What’s a bit of advice you received from someone you love that has made a big impact on your life?