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My dad turned eighty-years-old today. Just as I can’t believe I am fifty-years-old, I can’t believe my dad is eighty.

I’m so thankful that he is, though.

This post is for you, dad.

I remember you tucking me into bed at night. You listened to my prayers and read me my favorite books. Do you remember the book about the little princess and the boy who was blind? It was my favorite story. Somewhere in the stories, books, actions, our lifestyle, you impressed upon me a sense of justice. I like the world to be decent, kind and fair. I have a small town, blue collar sensibility even though I have spent years in college continuously increasing my education.

I learned the value of a dollar from you, and in this debt heavy society that was a gift you gave me that has kept me from purchases and tastes I couldn’t afford. Living within my means has freed me up to change jobs, move to different cities, and follow my dreams. I have never been a slave to credit card bills or loans.

I remember the science project you helped me with ( I probably got an A), and the handmade Halloween costumes, the sugar and butter sandwiches, peanut butter and mustard sandwiches, peanut butter and garlic salt sandwiches, and peanut butter and onion sandwiches. Some of those I still eat, and a good sandwich is still one of my favorite meals.

I remember the first year after your divorce on Valentine’s Day you sent me a music box shaped like an old phonograph player that played the song, “The Impossible Dream.”

So many things seemed impossible then. We didn’t know what the future would bring.

As a dad, you had three boys and me. I was the youngest and your one shot at raising a daughter. I have to admit I never felt like a princess, but I think that is a good thing – it kept me humble, simple and satisfied with the everyday.

We won’t get any recognition or win any awards for our roles as father or daughter, but I want you to know, you were always enough for me.

I wouldn’t be me without you. And the truth is, I’m happy, dad, I’m so damn happy.

This is a toast to life, both yours and mine! There is so much to celebrate.

We will eat cake the next time I see you!

Happy birthday, dad.  I hope you get to blow out a few candles.