February 4. Happy Birthday, Dad.
Almost 24 years ago, eating McDonald’s burgers just around the corner from the radio station in Albuquerque, you asked me the question that changed everything. I was the afternoon drive host, I was music director, and I was loving working in radio. I thought I had it all, but you knew I needed to push beyond what I was doing. You gave me the push.
“If radio is what you want to do, where do you need to go and what do you need to do?”
I need to go to Nashville.
I had never put it into thoughts that clearly, I had never put actions in place. That was October, and by January I was living in Nashville working at a radio station. Now as I a parent, I wonder how difficult that was – to encourage me to move away.
A year later you called and asked me how the radio career was going. Not so great. Turned out the move was not exactly wonderful for my radio career. So you pushed again…not in an overbearing way, instead in a freedom giving and empowering way.
“How about pursuing your Master’s?”
“Where would you go to study and what do you need to do?”
Another whole new path was opened, another place I was supposed to be, and you were the one who gave the push to get me there. In the year I had been in Nashville I had met someone, I had settled in and found a life in Nashville. The move was what was supposed to happen, just not for the reasons I had imagined.
A marriage happened. A life was beginning to take shape. Because a push had been given.
My whole life you have provided the grace and the support and the confidence for me to be who I am. Ride a motorcycle at 5? Sure! Why not! Horses and climbing trees and shooting guns?! Absolutely! I never thought anything was impossible, or at least never thought I shouldn’t try.
I would not be the person I am or have the life I have if you had not asked me the questions you asked 24 years ago in McDonald’s. So many things you have shaped not through demands and overbearing, but through gentle guidance and encouragement.
Thank you for always giving us the space as kids to make mistakes, the space to work and the space to play. Thank you for teaching me to love photography and horses, to love dogs and woods and birds.
Thank you for teaching me to love well, for teaching me that sometimes that means allowing people to move away because that is what God has called them to. Sometimes that means caring for those who do not know us any more, or know us only in moments. I’m grateful for your birthday to celebrate your sense of humor, your strength and the great favor God gave me and my brothers in giving us you as our Dad.
I’m thankful my kids know you well. I’ve always had the coolest Dad. Happy 83rd. Eat some good chocolate and know you are loved. Always happy to write your Happy Birthday Post, every year.