Today is my father's birthday.
As Dads go he is pretty awesome. He and my Mom were the first people to subscribe to my blog, and he comments on nearly everyone. He thinks I'm really smart, and sometimes funny. He never told my sister and I that our ideas were crazy, but rather tried to come up with ways to make our ideas work. (I would add only this cavet, when I wanted to paint my room 1/3 pink, 1/3 blue and 1/3 yellow, he said gently, "You don't think your room would look like an ice cream parlor?")
We always made my Halloween costumes together - no matter how crazy my ideas were. I went dressed as an ice cream sundae, a crayon (before you could just go buy a crayon costume) and Noah's Ark. It is a good man who will make a cardboard boat for his ten year old.
Now he helps his grandkids build stuff. His latest project is building a bed for the Girl. She has a tiny bedroom, but two closets, so they are constructing a bed that is tucked into her closets. When they were little they all worked on a doll house together. He let my Offspring use his power tools when they were itty bitty. That is love.
He is a retired welder/pipefitter. And I don't want this to turn into some kind of a Hallmark movie, but he worked wicked hard so my sister and I could go to St. John's Lutheran school, and swim lessons and all the trips for ice cream any girls could want.
When he graduated high school, he told his mom, "I want to go to college." She told him, "Well, you need to work." And that was that. Circumstances kept him from becoming a college professor. If things had worked out the other way, he would spend his days surrounded by stacks of books. He is NOT your typical construction worker.
He is an artist, and I love his paintings. He works mostly in pen and ink, and our home is filled with his work. I have strong memories of sitting around the dinning room table while he taught my sister and I to draw. I never seemed to master it. However, both of my children can draw, so I guess it just skipped a generation. Now, he sits at the dinning room table with my children and teaches them to draw. It is pretty sweet.
I cannot recall a single time when he was mad. Not one. He has always been very even tempered. I remember when he called us from Hawaii when he and my mom were on vacation. "Are you having fun?" I asked him. "Yeah, sure." He responded.
I am lucky to have such a sweet, loving and supportive Dad. I am lucky that he is still hanging around, listening to my ideas, working on various projects, and making me coffee. Happy Birthday Rich Hazeltine! We are all so glad that you were born!