another birthday approaches

As my birthday draws closer, I am fully embracing the blessing of growing another year older, another laugh line around my smile or my eyes. I am also doing some last minute cleaning and then packing, because zero-dark-thirty tomorrow morning, I fly out to actually spend my birthday on vacation.  While I am dreading boarding my dogs this trip, it is just not possible to take them with me.  I haven’t taken an actual vacation and gone anywhere in years… It’s time to change that.  It’s time to take more than just a long weekend.

I’ve been under a considerable amount of stress at work, which has just shy of driven me through the roof.  But yesterday, I joked with a coworker how one of the greatest feelings was turning on the email auto-respond that you are out of the office.  Before leaving for the day, I told both my supervisors I would be turn OFF my work phone and only checking it before flying home, maybe.  My immediate supervisor laughed and said, good you need to enjoy your time in Louisiana.  I plan to.

So today, I’m cleaning and packing and listening to my feel-good playlist on Spotify and Rod Stewart comes on….

May the good Lord be with you down every road you roam.
And may sunshine and happiness surround you when you’re far from home.
And my you grow to be proud, dignified and true.
And do unto others as you’d have done to you.
Be courageous and be brave.
And in my heart you’ll always stay

Forever young. (Forever young)
Forever young. (Forever young)

When I was a child, this song use to come on VH1 or the radio, my dad would turn the volume on the tv/radio up and sing along.  Most the time it would also involve him scooping me into his arms and dancing around our family room.  Just thinking about this dear and happy memory brings happy tears to my eyes.  I’m a daddy’s girl in every sense of the word.

When I called my dad from a deployment to tell I had gotten married (like a dumbass kid), he pretended to be happy for me.  I found out later he called one of my closest buddies and was at the bar drinking by 10am.

When I moved from North Carolina to Illinois, my dad flew down from Michigan to help pack up the moving truck.  When I moved from Illinois to Arkansas, my dad came.  From Arkansas to Connecticut, again my dad came to pack me up…

I could call my dad any time of the night or day and he’s never too busy.  He might initially say he is in the middle of something, I try not to be selfish unless I just need my dad; but he always sets aside what he is doing to talk to me.  I am daddy’s girl in every bit the definition of the saying.

May good fortune be with you, may your guiding light be strong,
Build a stairway to heaven with a prince or a vagabond.
And may you never love in vain.
And in my heart you will remain

Forever young. (Forever young)
Forever young. (Forever young)
Forever young. Forever young

Daddy, I love you.  You and momma did an amazing job, no we didn’t always have everything we wanted and no kid should; but we always had want we needed.  Most of all we had each other.  I know both you and momma worried that when we grew up, we’d grow apart -your four children.  I am so happy to say, your fears never came to pass.  My siblings and I are close as any friends, no matter the miles or in some years, the oceans that separate us.

And when you fin’lly fly away, I’ll be hoping that I served you well.
For all the wisdom of a lifetime, no one can ever tell.
But whatever road you choose, I’m right behind you win or lose,

Forever young. (Forever young)
Forever young. (Forever young)
Forever young. Forever young
For forever young

I know you brag about all your children.  Any time we talk, you have some new stories about who you were bragging to, about how your children grew up…how we were holy terrors, but ohhhh the adults we became.  You constantly tell me how proud you are of the path I have taken in life.  Daddy, I never would have made it as far as I have without the guidance and love you and momma showed.  I’m turning 38 in just a few short days, but I know you still see me as an 8 year old girl, running around the house on Mindanao, dancing with you or swimming in the pool you couldn’t keep me out of.  I hope you never loose that vision of me.

Daddy, so much has changed in the past few months.  I know it’s been a couple of rough years.  Thank you for always sticking by me, no matter what, no matter how far, no matter how mad or full of anger I was.  Daddy, I promise things are changing again.  Even Elya said it the other day or week, on the phone…I think it was two weeks ago.  The changes that she hears in me and in my heart, it’s a beautiful thing.

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forever your little girl