Our family has this thing for piling birthdays on top of one another. Mike and I celebrate both our birthdays and an anniversary within a two week period. And 4 days later we celebrate the birth of our youngest. Our oldest two have birthdays two days apart in November. Crazy! But we got it honestly….
I used to think that Groundhog Day was a special holiday made for my parents. A bridge between their birthdays–February 1 and 3–back when I thought all the world revolved around my parents. You remember that?
Today, on their bridge holiday, I give thanks for just a bit of what it has meant to be their daughter.
My dad is one of the most curious people I know. If you asked me what is the greatest legacy he has passed on to me, I might say this is it; He taught me to be curious. He knows the name of every tree that grows in Appalachia. You think I’m lying, but I’m not. Most of the plants too. And if you sit down to look at photos from any of their many travels you will learn all about who built the railway they are riding on in Alaska and why, or who settled any given place, or just what it tastes like to eat a mango fresh off the tree in Hawaii.
This he gave to me. Maybe genetically. But most certainly by example. Ask anyone who knows me. I ask a lot of questions. Not to be polite. But, because I have this insatiable need to know. Just like my daddy.
My mom read to me before memory. My earliest recollections are of stories already well worn. Familiar. Comfortable. Loved. Mostly out of Childcraft books she earned for our family by stepping out of her comfort zone and selling Wold Book Encyclopedias. I inhaled those books as a child. I drank in any story that she told. And even when my children came along and she told them stories, that same magic sent chills up my spine. If you ever hear my mom recite The Raggedy Man, you will understand. Maybe.
This crazy obsession I have with words…my love of crawling inside another’s world through the stories they tell…it is all her fault. She opened a place in me I have never been able to close. Nor do I want to.
Today, while all of you are trying to figure out if winter has had done with us or not, I am mostly thinking about the good soil in which I was blessed to be planted. And giving thanks.
Happy (day between your) Birthday, Dad and Mom!! I love you, and am deeply grateful that you are exactly who you are. God grant you many, many years!