My husband grew up in the city always wishing for the life depicted in the Archie comic books. Now, I'm a suburban girl. I went to the high school nicknamed "the Country Club". I can tell you we did have our share of Reggies and Veronicas - maybe even an Archie or Betty. BUT, I certainly wouldn't call it Riverdale. Yet, alas, that is the image eternally burned in the mind of my everlovin'. I am happy to report he finally gets to live that life...well, by osmosis anyway. You see his one desire when we started a family was to provide a life for our children he could have only imagined. One where the helicopters don't fly overhead with the spotlights shining in your window looking for the escaped convict. Where you DON'T get mugged getting supplies from the book room on the third floor when the teacher insists you go by yourself. One where you start your high school experice with friends who don't become violent, burned out potheads by Senior year. Not too much to ask, huh?
When our kids were little and we began looking for a home he had very specific goals in mind. Yes, he has to drive more than 60 miles roundtrip everyday. Yes, our credit cards cry for mercy due to the higher cost of living. But....he's living his dream and our children are the lucky recipients of more love than they could hope for. We are proud parents of well adjusted, productive, football game attending, text obsessed, suburban teenagers! And the capper. Our freshman daughter is head-over heels in love with a Jr. Olympic swimmer who treats her like she's a gem.
Remember the Peanuts comic strip when Sally would see Linus? Her mouth would curl into that huge grin and little hearts would float above her head. THAT'S IT!! I've seen my daughter look exactly like that - dancing around the house singing, "I've got the best boyfriend ever." Ah, young love! No matter that she'll probably have lots of boyfriends in her life. No doubt there will be heartbreak and tears at some point. Right now she is heavenbound and we'll have to tie a rope around her ankles to keep her from floating away.
So here's to you dad - and all of the other fathers who sweat and toil and sacrifice so they can better the lives of their children. Here's to driving teenagers to the movies in your super cool ancient little red Honda hatchback. Here's to buying dance shoes over designer shoes. Here's to looking at colleges during your summer vacation. Here's to spending hours resetting e-mails so they don't miss that important message from their friend.
Maybe they don't appreciate you now. Maybe they won't ever appreciate or understand the passion you feel for doing the right thing for them. But I know. I appreciate. I love you even more for it.
And a special, "Here, here" to my own father. Who I was just beginning to appreciate when he was called to heaven too soon at age 55. You've been gone 22 years now. Sadly you did not live long enough to reap the benefits of your adult children and the eight fabulous grandchildren you never got to know. They know you though - they hear the stories from my siblings and me. They see the photos and by the power of genetics, my son has so many of your attributes. A kind, generous, funny guy who loves Star Wars and Indianna Jones, Disneyland and archeology. Engineering and God. So many likenesses. And so, although we can't hug you and tell you good job. Somehow I feel you already know. You smile down on us, protect us and guide us still. Happy 77th Birthday dad!