Happy Birthday, Dad!

Hey Dad~

I know the custom is for the birthday honoree to receive gifts on his/her special day.  But you know me pretty well, and sometimes I don't always follow custom.  So, as you tick off another birthday, I want to thank *you* for some incredible gifts you've given me over the years.

Sure, there were...
 - the times you, Eric and I had our friendly claybird shooting competitions in the State Game Lands.

 - the baseball gloves and bats (and sticking with me and my 0.119 batting average in Little League), and countless trips to soccer, band and track practices and games/meets.
 - the various family get-togethers where you kid around with Chloe (I love that.)
 - the little moments, like 1) the "thrill ride" we took in your (I believe old Red F-150) pickup down that hill North of Claussville on Route 100, to see if we could hit 100 mph before turning onto Lyons Valley Road, and 2) not being upset with me when you took me deer hunting and I (repeatedly) fell asleep in the sun, leaning up against trees.  (You had your giggles one time when you found me this way and took my rifle.)
 - the many family summer vacations.
The list of tangible things and memories could go on and on.

But, as I look back on things, I think these are the two greatest gifts you've given me.
1)  The example, and importance of, being oneself.  What I mean is, you are you no matter where you are, or who is around you.  And I really admire that, and have tried to live that way and set that example for Chloe as well. 
2)  Unconditional support.  Sure, we had our wobbles here and there (remember AFROTC?) but by and large, and through my many moves and events, you stuck with and by me.  And never stopped being my Dad.

So, from a very appreciative and loving son, Thank you, and Happy Birthday!

The Birthday Boy

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