Tomorrow I will be 24! How time flies...! I was sure I just turned 23- sometime last week? I've always loved birthdays and I came from a family that always made them very special day. I'm having kind of a sad moment- it just hit me that this is my first birthday without my dad. A few memories from past years came to mind.
One is my 18th birthday, in 2003. Bear in mind the year- before Apple had taken over the world and CD's hadn't been replaced by iTunes. It was my first year at college and consequently my first year playing basketall which meant many away games, road trips and long and potentially boring bus trips.
That year my dad was particularly excited about the gift he got me. I had no idea what it was and was quite surprised because normally he left gift-purchasing to my mom. The shape of the package was undetectable. He wanted me to guess but I had none. I opened it up and it was ... wait for it...a brand new.... Sony...discman! That's right-a discman. Remember those things that play CD's? It was cool at the time but very quickly became a product of the 90's.
He told me that I needed to have the best for all of our bus trips with basketball and that it was the top of the line! He never ceased to surprise me. Not only was it out of his usual price range, but it was incredibly thoughtful and practical!
My next birthday memory is a special phone call from last year. At this time last year, my dad was quickly losing his ability to speak. I have two messages still saved on my voicemail. The first is my dad, speaking very slowly giving me car advice and then ending with, "O...kay....Hap...py...Birt.....day."
The second is the Happy Birthday song from later that day. Mom sang the first line, Emily sang then second, back to Mom for the third, "Happy Birthday to..." and then the big finale- dad with "Ste.....pha......nie". I've probably listened to those messages 3 dozen times and will continue to save them for as long as my Shaw voicemail box will allow.
There are many more material things my dad gave me- cars, basketball shoes, gas money- that I am thankful for. But I am most thankful for the things that didn't come gift wrapped and will never go out of style.
I was just sitting here ready to temporarily crumble into tears thinking about all this when Mike handed me the phone. It was my wonderful father-in-law, singing Happy Birthday to me a day early. God is so faithful. He knows just what we need in the moment!