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...
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.