Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Birthday Wish for Army Dad

Today is Army Dad's birthday. He will be older than the dinosaurs, but not quite as old as dirt. And he has aged in that Sean Connery/General Patton sort of way. When I think about the life he has lead thus far, I know that someday (very far down the road, hopefully...I still have more grandchildren to give him) he will go to his grave with a smile on his face, a German beer in his hand, and proclaiming, "What a ride!" from his Harley.

*Almost* everything I needed to know, I learned from Army Dad (because he knows pretty much nothing about jewelry design or assembling an Easter outfit). When I was a WeeAlly, his constant teachable moments would send me sighing and stomping in the opposite direction. But whatever Army Dad lacks in compassion after a middle school break-up and patience during the tween years, he makes up for in consistency. Even though his advice often bounced into one ear, reverberated enough to give me a slight headache, and then slid right on out the other, it must have left a residue over the years. Sometime in my late 20's I found myself spewing Army Dadisms. It was alarming at first. "Hope for the best, but expect the worst." As soon as it came out I clamped my mouth shut and squeezed tight to keep everything else in. Did I just SAY that? As I approach my mid-30's, they come with much more regularity and very little surprises me anymore. "There is always someone less fortunate than you." and "It's better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it." It doesn't help that these phrases also slip from my husband's lips. I try to block the fact that, essentially, I married a 40-year old version of my father. If Mama Virgo wasn't a psychologist, I probably would have landed in therapy years ago.

To you, Army Dad, on your ___ birthday...a photo gallery of moments and the lessons I have taken from them...

 Never stop being grateful for what you have. Keep the joys in life close to your heart and protect them the best you can. And it's OK to go shirtless every now and then. 

A little rest and relaxation is good for the soul and your relationships. The couch is the ideal spot for a good cuddle. And, with the exception of The Rock, the tummy makes an excellent pillow. 

 Support the troops, salute the flag, be proud to be an American. You will never understand the gift of freedom until you lose it. But try very hard to not let that happen. Serve your country, even when it means sacrifice and absence, but remember that at the end of the day, family comes first.

Always keep a watchful eye. Sit back and enjoy a drink but never lose sight of what is important...especially when it's clinging to your leg hair. Don't be afraid to wear the same shirt for YEARS. It's not trash until it's being held together by static cling. 

A hand on the shoulder is all a person needs sometimes. Whether it's to give comfort, understanding, or just to hold someone vertical, it is an undervalued touch. Such a small gesture that can show just how much you care. 

You will hold on for as long as you can and then comes the time when you must let go and just watch. But no harm in being close behind in case they wipe out. Also it's OK to be shirtless a LOT. 

 Support and love your children unconditionally. They are your legacy...even though one likes to dress in costume from time to time. 

Happy Birthday, Army Dad. You have lived a novel-worthy life but you have so much left to do. We can't wait to see what the next 30 brings. 
Army Husband and WeeAlly 


  1. Tell your father a huge:


    and Happy Birthday.....

    Your dad is a wise man and a HERO for serving his country.

    sorry but you know I get vehement about that subject...

    that is all

  2. Happy Birthday to your dad! I absolutely love how you honor him and poke fun at him at the same time. Brilliant daughter moves!

  3. Wishing the happiest of birthdays to Army Dad!!!

  4. Aw Happy Birthday to Army Dad! I know he'll love this post!!!

  5. I'm crying over here... but, its a good cry.

    "not as old as dirt" ha!!! very funny!!!

    Happy, HAPPY Birthday Army Dad :)

  6. Happy birthday, Army Dad! And thanks for all that you've sacrificed for us!

  7. ArmyDad has raised a savvy daughter, and I bet he is plenty proud of you. Happy birthday to him. And, go 'cats - tomorrow!

  8. Happy Birthday, Army Dad!
    What a wonderful tribute to your Papa.
    Your Dad-isms seem so much nicer, but mine are just as memorable:
    "Don't do anything I wouldn't do"
    "If that's dinner, I guess I've had it"
    "I'm going to put you over my knee and give you a pair of rosy cheeks"

  9. What a beautiful post for Army Dad!! Love it. Your dad sounds wonderful.
    It also just proves I love a man in uniform...even in the 70's style. ;)

  10. Happy Birthday Army Dad! What a great tribute! :)

  11. Happy Birthday Army Dad! You have a gift with words...what a well written tribute! I remember my Dad being shirtless a lot too now that you mention it!

  12. Great tribute to a fine father! I know he loves you very much and is very proud of the wonderful woman that you have become! You are well loved!

  13. Awww, I love this tribute to your dad! I also love the farmers tan in the bike pic. So much so I didn't believe the caption saying he was shirtless until I clicked on the pic and saw it in larger form. Wow, it goes up the neck too! Just awesome!

  14. go dad! Happy birthday, and going shirtless is no joke.

  15. Happy Birthday to your father!
    And I love the pictures. WeeAlly was flipping adorable. ;)

  16. What a wonderful post! I was actually looking for some ideas for birthday wishes for dad on his coming birthday this June 29th and came across to this. This is so sweet... thanks!


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