Sunday, December 1, 2013

What I Would Have Said

This past Friday was my dad's birthday (hooray!). We had a huge party at his shop, complete with a rocking band and tons of booze. Everybody worked really hard to pull it off, and I was so amazed with the result.

My sisters and I each gave tributes to our dad, in age order - which means I go last. Well, naturally, both of my sisters gave incredibly moving talks that had all of bawling. So by the time I got up to speak, my well-crafted speech flitted neatly out of my head and I mumbled a bunch of idiocies before I introduced the slideshow, and fell off the stage. Sorry, Dad.

If I had the presence of mind to write things down (like Ali) or keep it short (like Kim), it would've been better for everyone. But anyway, here's what I would have said - if I'd been able to.

Dad, you built a business out of nothing but a dream and hard work. You have used your talents to make the world more beautiful, and a man who values Beauty is rare - but a man who works to bring it to birth is even rarer. Thank you for teaching me that beauty is valuable, and that hard work didn't go out of style after the Depression.

Dad, you married mom despite not knowing how to be married. Your dad was often gone, and your mom died far too young. But you knew mom was the love of your life, and you dove in head first. You made your share of mistakes, but you refused to give up. In an age where divorce is more common than  lifelong marriage, please know how much it means to me that you and Mom are still married. Thank you for not leaving her - or us. The love that you have for mom inspired me to find a man who would love me the same way, and I wouldn't have known what to look for if you hadn't modeled that for me. Thank you for teaching me that marriage is worth suffering for, long after all the feelings you first had are gone.

Dad, you've always been a man of strong opinions. To this day, most ideas you vehemently disagree with will be loudly denounced as "horse s---." I never thought I would see the day when you would re-examine a long held idea. But you proved me wrong when you did your own research, and decided to become Catholic. I can't imagine how hard it is to change - to change when everyone who's known you thinks they have you all figured out, when it means changing yourself and your habits, when it means being subjected to ridicule for wanting to change. Thank you for teaching me that I should follow my convictions, even when it means I'll be going it alone.

Dad, I'm grateful every day for the man you have been for me. Thank you for my father, and for loving me so well. You have taught me how to live and I only hope I can do your lessons justice. Here's to my father - David Rogers.

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