I was just 17 when my dad died. Unexpected in the night, my daddy went to be with Jesus exactly one month before my high school graduation.
I have lived more of my life without him than I did with him. And no matter how old I get I still wish teen girls wouldn’t lose their daddies.
I have thought about him a lot this year for some reason. Maybe it is because I’m the same age now as he was when he died. Just 41. Maybe it is because I’m getting to enjoy this grandma role and I think about what a great grandpa he would have been.
Last Friday was his birthday. I always think of him on December 16.
I’ve been slowly doing some cleaning out, some simplifying, some getting rid of stuff around my house lately. A mini project purge if you will. I recently tackled my closet. And in the corner of my closet there sat a box marked ‘”memorabilia” – except I think I spelled it wrong on the box. I wrote that word on that box over 20 years ago and I’ve been hauling it around and letting it sit in corners of closets for all these years.
I decided it was time to go through that box of memorabilia and see what was worth keeping. There were lots of letters from my sister (which mostly made me laugh), graduation announcements, even my graduation cap, pictures of high school days and old birthday cards. And right there in between old report cards and my SAT scores I found two hand written notes.
In the handwriting I so distinctly remember this is what one said:
I hope you are having a very happy birthday. My little girl is becoming a lady and you are making me very proud.
I hope this day brings you happiness and I want you to remember that I love you.
No fancy card just simple business stationary with words penned in black ink. This note given by my dad to me on my 17th birthday.
I had completely forgotten about these notes. What a treasure to uncover. A reminder of a father’s love.
The SAT scores, the report cards, the graduation cap – those were tossed. But these notes…they are gifts.