I looked at my to-do list this morning and it pretty much looked like this:
5. Write a blog post.
I’ve got a big project to wrap up; there’s no time to mess around today; this blog will just have to wait a few more days.
And then, I realized something really important. Today is my father-in-law’s birthday!
Bob is 89 today. He’s one of my most faithful readers, and if there’s any reason at all in the world to ignore that to-do list for ten minutes, this is it.
If we were there with you today, Bob, first thing I’d be doing is baking a birthday cake for you. Nothing too big or crazy. But you have to have a cake on your birthday and I’ve never made one for you. I need to fix that.
And then we’d all be telling you about the week: last weekend’s visit to Boston for L’s birthday, work, camps, the animals, things we’d been cooking, the fire ring we’ve been planning to build all summer but haven’t gotten to yet.
We’d tell you that, yesterday afternoon, Hyla and friends and I went swimming at a nearby pond. How we all swam laps around the floating dock. How the kids called Gryfe into the water with his leash and then took turns having him tow them in to shore, over and over. How they got out all warm-but-shivery, wrapped themselves in towels, and bought ice cream cones at the snack bar across the street.
And our friend, J, gave Gryfe the tip of her cone. And Gryfe licked the little bit of ice cream out of it as gracefully as a dog can, before swallowing the last of the cone in one doggy gulp.
We’d talk about what’s happening in the world, the Olympics just about to start, what’s going on with friends, news from far-flung aunts, uncles, and cousins.
In the afternoon, after running an errand, maybe we’d have a beer in anticipation of dinner and that cake.
And we’d let the evening fall around us, maybe not talking much at all, just being there, all together, telling you, maybe not in so many out-loud words, but in hugs and looks and smiles, how much we love you, how grateful we are to have you in our lives, how lucky we are to know such a kind, gentle, and thoughtful man.
How we wish you much happiness and health on this birthday, and many many more.