Kelly Rogers

Writer focused on fiction for middle-aged women with spunk

To My Dad, Nearly One Year After His Last Birthday

Note: I wrote and read this to my dad on his birthday nearly a year ago. He passed away in February. I would give anything to read it to him again this year.

As I looked out the window this morning at the flecks of white gliding down gently, I thought of a not-so-gentle snow, the blizzard of 1978. When you are as old as this father and daughter are, a beautiful benefit is so many memories of which to partake. I was young and scared because a blizzard did not sound good to me. Instead, you looked at it with childlike glee. We would be okay, and we would have the gift of snow in which to play.

So the snow came, heavy, steady, and long. When it stopped, we were truly snowed in our pretty little house on Dartmouth. The first thing you did was shovel us out, such a hard, tireless worker in your career and taking care of your home. And as you did, you created a hill for me to sled down. I suited up in the most ridiculous puffy suit, full of down, and moon boots. Mom and you had me wrapped so tight in snow gear, I was hoping I would not suddenly need to go to the bathroom.

We played in the snow until our noses and toes could not take it anymore. The last thing you did before we went in, was run, pulling me on the sled like you were a whole team of sled dogs. Unfortunately, you did not realize I veered to the side and straight into the snow mountain you made for me. I did not fear, because as soon as I went in, you pulled me out, took me in, and faced mom who was not too happy that every inch of me was caked with snow. I’d go through a snow mountain again to live that moment a second time.

Our memories together are like the snowflakes themselves today, countless and continuous. Days at the racetrack. Days in the garage. Nights looking through a telescope. Moments where you helped heal my broken heart and banish my disappointments. Trips north. Trips south. Trips with a U-Haul, taking me on new adventures. The day you gave me away. The day you welcomed your first grandchild, so proud of me and smitten with her. 

Between the memories, there are moments, pages in the book of a father and daughter, like today’s moment. At this moment, I celebrate you as my father, the man who has always been in my corner telling me I could do anything to which I set my mind. We celebrate you as your family for being so remarkably devoted to us and proud of us, always putting us first. The mark of a great man is his family, and you are a great man. We love you, dad, papa, and the man who once shot a hole in the roof of our van and then asked me if we should patch it up so mom wouldn’t know. I love you, dad. Happy 78th year of the story of your life, and 48th year of being my wonderful dad.

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