Do you remember when I was five or six
And you’d come home from such long trips
And I’d follow you up to watch you unpack
So glad to have my Daddy back
(Always hoping for some souvenir of some sort
Even if it was just snacks from the airport)
And you’d tell me all about where you’d been
And folks from the plane you’d likely not see again
(Of course, I could tell they all liked you
Since you are so honest and friendly and true)?
Do you remember when I’d come steal your lap
And not just when I needed a nap;
College football games on the television?
If you were watching, there was no decision –
I’d sit down, watch, listen and learn
No matter what age or worldly concern,
It was with you whom I wanted to spend
What time we found, every night and weekend
You’re still the greatest man I know
So, on your birthday, I have to show
The world and you, Dad – James Monroe –
That no matter where I or you may go,
No matter how high or how terribly low,
For you, I’d make chocolate-chip cookie dough,
Bake dozens for you, every week-or-so;
Read the works of David Thoreau;
Learn to capture life like you do in photos;
Bless the world with as much love as you bestow….
And more, Dad. Because everything I hold dear
Exists since you’ve countered, in so many ways, what I fear.
You give me and so many such hope
Such that, even through struggles with the breadth of this scope,
I know you’ll be there.
I can put off despair.
For me, it’s the small things that matter more than all other.
I learned that from you, Dad, and from your love of my mother,
From your love of us all:
That no matter how great the feeling, or small,
I can live. I can love. I can be.
Thank you for all that you’ve loved in me.