“To live will be an awfully big adventure.” -J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Daddy, you are turning sixty, and my but that seems like an extraordinary number. Take a minute, one set of sixty-seconds to just imagine the scope of what you’ve done in this life.
You have lived 21,900 days.
Your heart has beat more than 44,150,400 times.
You’ve taken more than 438,000,000 breaths.
By now, you would have dreamed at least 65,700 dreams if you were average … but I know you … and as a dreamer, you’re more likely in the 131,400 range.
Over the years, you’ve traveled past 3,120 sets of seven days in a week.
You have witnessed sixty sets of four seasons parading, one after another for you to enjoy.
You’ve been married 39 years, which means that for 14,235 days and nights, you’ve never been alone.
A workaholic in the most honorable way, you’ve worked nearly 12,000 days, and clocked in likely more than 120,000 hours.
Sources say that most men drive nearly 16,000 miles a year, which, if correct, puts you right near a million miles traveled.
You’ve been a father for 13,870 days, (which accounts for many sleepless nights, I now know, but who wants to count those).
More than 76,650 hours of music have filled your days as you taught me how to appreciate only the really good songs.
On estimation, you have taken over 109,500,000 steps in your life … and I love how you’ve never looked back once.
You’ve lived more in sixty years than some people do in a whole lifetime daddy, and I’m sure it gets tiring sometimes, but I want you to know this isn’t an end – like Avi says, it is just, “The end of the beginning.”
And I wish I could be there to help you celebrate … to ring in this new year the way only you and I can, with lots of room for childishness and dreaming – but all those miles you’ve traveled have sadly settled about 660 between us, and it’s hard. So instead I’ve decided to give you a piece of what you and I do best … imagination, and pretend.
Daddy I want you to imagine that I’m painting you a picture … just like the ones you taped to the fridge when I was little. And pretend that somehow, I was able to join together our most precious memories in one watercolored-blend of construction paper. In the center, I’m brand new, wrapped snugly in the soft blue blanket you and mom bought in anticipation of the boy I didn’t turn out to be after all, your gentle lips curl in the silent paper lullaby you’d have sung. The upper left-hand corner, shows me curled asleep in your lap at a concert, completely oblivious in the comfort of my dreams. Then below it, following the line of a fishing pole you’re casting, you see my delighted, double-pigtailed head, bobbing with the weight of anticipation for my first catch.
Drifting to the right, your strong arms wind around mine as I take my first swing, rounding the edges that blur onto the sidewalk, with you chasing behind me after I made you promise not to let go. In the center, you stand behind mom taking pictures of me, all dressed up with a boy at my side, resigning yourself to the periphery with a sad, but knowing smile. Trailing the veil of paint, I now stand, with you on my arm for the last time, before you give me to a different boy, this time … forever. But in a curl, at the bottom left corner, you bend to kiss my forehead, and then his, your first grandson nestled in my arms. As the picture advances on, there are now two children to call you Papa … the granddaughter looking surreally similar to your own baby girl from years ago.
And on the bottom right? That piece is unpainted – the story yet to be, as we have many adventures still in wait for us to live.
Can you see it daddy? I painted with the best words I could … just for you.
To Neverland and Back,