Butterfly Sparks Designs

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dad!!!

Me and Dad
I have vivid memories of my childhood summers. Constantly at our neighborhood swimming pool from its opening hour until booted out by the teenage-angst-filled lifeguards at closing time, my olive skin became very dark. I would be stopped regularly by the nosy inquirer who wanted to know if I was Brazilian or from some other far-off exotic place. But no, I was merely a little small town southern girl. As I think about that memory, I find it comical. I was not an exotic foreign heir to fortune or fame. I was a simple girl from a simple town with simple taste. And I was the luckiest girl alive (and still am), because the values instilled in me by my parents were based upon recognizing the extraordinary in the simplest pleasures in life.

God has blessed me with the most incredible earthly father a girl could have. He oooohed and aaaahed when I twirled in my new dresses, he graciously pretended to eat elaborate imaginary platters of food I designed with little plastic “pegs”, and he never once forgot to leave me a beautiful heart full of chocolates on Valentine’s Day. Every Saturday morning, we had breakfast together at Kay’s Drugstore…it was our date every week. And every single day (no exaggeration), I would wake up to a handwritten note from Dad wishing me a good day, affirming me, and telling me that he loved me “very, very, very, very much”.

My most treasured memories with Dad, though, are the ones framed around those Georgia midsummer days that were so humid you could barely breathe. He and I would sit out on our deck in the hot sun, and we would share an ice cold can of fruit cocktail. Two forks. We would sit and talk and laugh with the sweltering sun beating down on us as we took turns reaching into a fifty-cent can of ice cold fruit. At the end, one lone cherry always awaited…and Dad always gave it to me of course. We would stay and talk and talk and talk until the sun came down. Dad worked hard to support our family. But he and a silly can of fruit cocktail always had time for me. From my perspective, there was no finer cuisine. The experience was not framed around an iPhone or iPad or Playstation or designer jeans or fancy trips or cameras or computers. There was just me and my Daddy, and an aluminum can of processed fruit between us. I was content, satisfied, and loved. I can’t tell you what I got for Christmas or my birthday every year, but I can tell you about those times on the deck with my Dad like it was yesterday. That, I remember. And that, I treasure.

If you look in my refrigerator today, you’ll notice a can of fruit cocktail on the top shelf. And if you know me well at all, then you know that there is always a can in my fridge. Always. Because I need to be reminded that there are opportunities every single day to find the extraordinary in the simplest of things.

Thank you, Dad, for your love for me and our family.  Happy Birthday!


Anonymous said...

Melissa, I remember our sharing those cans of ice cold fruit and our talks as if were yesterday. I hold so many special memories of each of my 3 daughters. The memories you shared today make me very proud you are my daughter. The notes I would write to you each day were just a way of letting you know how much I was thinking of you and how much I love you. I always prayed for you to have a good day. Thank you so much for honoring my birthday in such a special way. I can't believe I am only 35 years old.
I love you very very very much.

Anonymous said...

Well, I see where dad is trying to pass for 35 again. That little stinker!
Dad was so taken by your special Birthday message to him today and I was too. I saw him get a bit teary eyed as he read your post. Dad has always had such a special place in his heart for his 3 daughters. He loves you each so much. He shares in different ways so many special memories of each of you. Today that cold can of fruit triggered back so many sweet memories of you and your special times together. You really touched his heart. Dad is wearing the biggest smile right now. A really wonderful day for him. That makes me have one happy heart!

Love you sweet daughter,

Anonymous said...

Very sweet post Melissa!

.. Shari Freeman