Happy Birthday Dad – Thoughts From Your Twirling Daughter

Posted by on Mar 6, 2014 | 0 comments

Happy Birthday Dad – Thoughts From Your Twirling Daughter

I want to wish my Dad a very Happy Birthday. I’m sadly too far away to celebrate in person. But my heart is there in world renowned, Wee Bub capital of the world, Byfield, where I grew up. It’s where I learned to love real maple syrup, beach plum jelly, driving a tractor at age ten, dandelion-picking during little league baseball games, playing ping pong in the barn at midnight, the J Geils band, and reaching the gym rafters via a trampoline. When I look at the landscape of my life, one enduring image acts as a conduit between father and daughter. It was crossing the finish line of Triton’s track at the end of a race… and walking off the leg pain with the person who most wanted me to win. All of my life I’ve been in pursuit… chasing dreams and aspirations. My Dad gave me that quest-seeking drive. And yet no matter how bold or determined, I have long needed my Dad’s arm around my shoulder for assurance… all these many years later. Daring only comes in knowing he is there to catch me if – or more aptly stated ‘when’ – I fall. As a little girl, an entire evening spent at the Topsfield Fair had my hand clasped to his.

But while feeling precarious, I was not without courage or creativity… and that’s because Dad let my imagination run wild. And boy did I stretch it. I was quite certain that I would marry Fred Lynn, MVP centerfielder of the 1975 Red Sox, and equally certain that I would take Olympic gold as a figure skater. I spent hours under the flood lights on our frozen pond twirling about like Dorothy Hamel (while, on the opposite side of the ice, my brother’s hockey game landed him in the dentist chair fixing braces after dislodging a puck from his mouth).

My Dad taught me that being unsafe, unconventional and uncertain often gives us more than being protected and cautious could possibly offer (which explains why he was okay with his youngest child searching the house when our highly venomous gila monster got loose from its cage… with faith that the cute petite lizard wouldn’t harm me, I called out as though fetching a pet cat “Here lizard, here little monster”).

And so on his special day I want to say thank you for rooting me on, unleashing my unique qualities, occasionally risking my life and limbs, and taking me on adventures (to places like behind the police barricade at the Seabrook nuclear plant protest) that instilled in me a sense of adventure. I shall always rely on my audacious spirit within, that came from unnerving moments to be brave and defying (such as the time I told a bold-face lie to the sheriff about the supposed plane that just dropped from the sky when in fact my Dad nearly took down a square block of our neighborhood by blowing up toxic chemicals in our backyard).

Settling in and being normal just doesn’t cut it. But I still need to know that I’ve got your hand to hold, Dad. I need it… to be free. To chase dreams. And to keep on twirling…

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