Day 4: To my Dad…

To my Dad…
Today is your birthday. I bought Werther’s candies because those were your favorite.  When I see the signature gold wrapper in a parking lot or trash can, I feel like it’s you going before me, watching over me.
There’s not a day, an event, a milestone that I don’t think of you. When the Mountaineers win, I think of you. When the weather turns cold, I think of you. When I go camping or think of buying a house or spend the afternoon watching the Cleveland Browns, I think of you.
And I know you’d be so proud of Chloe. She’s so smart! She “reads” her Halloween books to me from memory. She’s stubborn and strong-willed. Imaginative and funny.  She wants to be a dancer. Mom says it’s like watching a little Sarah Beth- minus the dancer part because we all know how I felt about the Neutron Dance.
And of Hannah, the Homecoming Queen. Yep. The little girl who preferred Kim Possible to Cinderella now wears a crown!  She plans to be a Mountaineer. She started her own business. Her heart for saving the world reverberates to those around her. She dances to the beat of a different drum literally and figuratively. You wouldn’t agree with her politics, but you’d love her fighting spirit and generous soul. She gives everything away just like you.
And of Owen, the bowler. He has a tournament soon at your old alley- Town N Country. When he chose not to play football, I thought…Dad would be so disappointed. But then I realized you’d say “save those knees, boy!” He’s in high school, planning to get a license in the fall. But, I assure you, the tenderhearted boy with the Spiderman mask still lives on. He’s smart and kind. He worries about his momma and likes to discuss what he’s reading or watching with me. Once he launches into a story or conversation, it’s best to take a seat. He’s a detail guy.
We are doing alright, Dad. We miss you. This life would so much better with you here. But in so many ways you are. You’re in Hannah’s giving spirit, Chloe’s love for family, and Owen’s tendency to talk to someone everywhere we go.
You’re the red bird that lives outside my back window. You’re the reminder of where I come from – of who I am to be – of whom I do not want to disappoint. And for all of that, for each of your 58 years on planet Earth, I am grateful. I breathe each day because once upon a time Rachel Hannah gave birth to Allen Wayne. And I remember that each time someone pats me on the back or shares a kind word.  I am who I am because of you and Mom.
Happy Birthday, Dad! I celebrate you. I thank you. I love you.  Always, Sarah Beth
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4

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