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Happy Birthday D.O.D.

My dad is 71 today. I told him it was not very nice of him to make us all lose an hour of sleep in honor of his birthday. He laughed. He’s retired. He gets to do that.

Two out of three family members surveyed sang to him on the phone. This is something of a tradition, kind of like the singing shark that passes as a stealth present from holiday to holiday, honored because it is just that weird.

I love my dad. He’s a strong man and a gentle one. His values are old-fashioned ones that he holds honestly. And yet he never suggested that I couldn’t do something because I was a girl. He taught me to throw a football and a baseball. He laughs when I hold the door open for him, rather than waiting, ladylike, for him to take care of me. While he joked about disowning me as the only non-Republican in the family, he never really would. No matter what.

I know this because he and my mom were there for me in the worst times. Don’t worry, he says to me. Get some rest.

Somehow, in spite of all the times I was naughty or disappointing or frustrating, he manages to be proud of me and to love me.

I’m a lucky kid.

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