It hardly seems like two minutes since the 60th Birthday celebrations were in full swing for my Dad yet here we all are 5 years later. Minus a few but with others added to our family the celebrations are in full swing once more. We have had a family meal already. There are meals with friends and a party to come to celebrate this milestone and I for one, can’t wait.
There is never a day that passes by that I take my Dad for granted. I know how lucky I am to have him by my side. I managed (goodness knows how after 4 house moves since the occasion!) to find the speech I wrote for his 60th Birthday and decided to share it. It was written from the heart then and when I was reading the words all over again, they still rang so very true.
“Today we gather here to celebrate one man’s birthday. We eat, drink, laugh and dance to celebrate his special day but we live in a fast paced world, where the hours of time pass us so fast that sometimes we truly forget why we do the things we do.
As such, allow us to remember that today is not just my Dad’s special day, but rather a special day for all of us who love him – for we have been blessed with another day, another hour, another year with our beloved. It is we who celebrate because we know that we have the comfort of his love, the security that only his heart can provide, and his strength that guides us in our life’s path.
To best understand what a father endures, a great poet, Kahlil Gibran once said,
“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and he bends you with his might that his arrows may go swift and far.”
As such My Dad as the bow has endured being bent as a bow does so that Neil and I, the arrows, may travel far and strong.
Many know that my Dad has done a great deal for both our family and friends but most don’t know what it takes to do what he has continually achieved. The man has awoken consistently for the last 40 years, to spend the entire working day, from early morning to late at night, as the rest of us played, watched TV or read books, sitting in his office buried in paperwork, travelling on business or simply making sure his business thrived.
When I was younger I would miss him and almost resented him for that. I would say, “I would rather have a poor Dad but one who would spend more time with me” But this was my youth speaking. I was too young to understand that my Dad was working so hard so that he can provide a better life for Neil and I. He has sacrificed his time, his life, so that other’s may live.
He has continuously stood as a pillar to both our nuclear and extended family. He is there for those within our community, those who simply seek advice from my Dad. Many have come in times of despair. He soon lightens the mood, something which I have learnt to do when my friends now come to me. For that and so much more, I thank you Dad. They come to him when a good man’s friendship is necessary. They are lucky to have him touch their lives in such a special way.
The truth is my Dad gave me a wealth – the greatest riches in life – he taught me how to love, to love unconditionally and he taught me how to be there for the people around me. My Dad’s lessons have taught us all and have taught us well.
Today Neil is beginning to follow in his footsteps and as of yet I have never seen his advise another in a wrong way. He so often helps people who need him. This virtue was not taught at Graphic Design college or in woodwork lessons, but rather, he learned it from watching our Dad.
This is but just one of Dad’s achievements. There are so many a=I could speak of, such as teaching us how to challenge ordinary thinking. To think outside the box. He triumphed over adversity and strived to re build his business and did like a phoenix from the ashes. He was challenged and he deservedly won. Knowing how hard he worked for this makes me swell with sheer pride.
So today remember, we are not here just to eat, drink, laugh and dance, but rather we are here to be reminded that we have the opportunity to spend one more day, one more year, and simply just one more time with the man that has loved us all unconditionally.
To Dad Xx”