Four Little Words

11 02 2007

My birthday is in a few weeks, I’ll be twenty, and as most everyone who has seen or heard from me within the past month knows, I’m very excited.  I don’t have any earthshaking plans, but I’ll be forever rid of “teen” from my age.  I can hear the hallelujah chorus now.

My dad gave me my present yesterday, and with it, a birthday card.  It was the card that got to me, or rather, the note inside.   

There were just four words inscribed, “Happy birthday.  Love, Dad.”  My dad’s never been a writer, so I wasn’t expecting anything profound and poetic, but the fact he’d written his short birthday greeting to me in pen, so there was a permanent record of just much he’d struggled trying to arrange the letters caused a sharp twinge of pain.  Because even in the end, he still hadn’t found the right mix of lettering to spell those four modest words correctly.   

When my sister, Shannon, was little I’d smile at the cute little cards she’d give me, and I’d try to decipher the text as best I could.  It was fine her notes could be a challenge to read, because she wasn’t even school age.  In fact, the illegibility and creative spelling added to the overall cuteness factor, but it’s not cute when it’s your dad.           

Here I am almost twenty and my dad can no longer always address a simple card.  He won’t be able to play a prominent rule in my adult life, because he’s unable to even now.  If I ever get married, he won’t be able to be a the supportive dad he would have wanted to be, and it’s going to be awhile before I’m done with school, because I’d like to get my masters, and by then he might not even be able to fully comprehend what that means.   

The reality my dad won’t be able to be there when I cross each hurdle and enter into each new stage of life, is painful, but the hardest part has nothing to do with me missing out on “dad time,” but that Shannon – who’s turning twelve this month – may not even have her dad cheering her own when she graduates from high school. 


It’s remarkable how four little words can jolt you back to reality, and leave you feeling like Alice tumbling head over heels down the rabbit hole.  I didn’t allow the note to wreck havoc on my day, but I did go for a run to wear off the “Alice” feeling.  Sometimes, you just need to run.     

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10 responses

11 02 2007
cumby

A very poignant post. Thanks for sharing from the heart. I turned 56 on Super Bowl Sunday. My son turns 16 on Tuesday. A few weeks after I turned 22, my dad died. He had been a raging alcoholic for as long as I could remember. Now it’s been 34 years since I last saw him. Time flies more than we would have ever imagined. At the end of the day we only have one father–our heavenly Father. Our earthly fathers are just on loan to us for a short time. Had I known that at the time, I would have treated my dad a whole lot better than I did. May God bless you always.

I’m sorry to hear about your dad. Yes, our fathers are only on loan to us, we only have them a short while, and the only father we truly have is our heavenly Father. The fact that my dad isn’t able to be there, due to his health, has brought me much closer to God. I’d always known mentally He was my Father, but it meant so much more to me when I could feel the hole in my life that my dad was unable to fill.

Happy late birthday. 🙂

~Kelsey

11 02 2007
Catherine

I’m so sorry your father is failing. I will pray a special prayer for you and your family tonight. I’m glad you are feeling some peace from running. Your post reminded me of Forest Gump………..and “Run Moe Run,” is my birthday cheer for you. Happy Birthday.

I love the movie Forest Gump, and I actually thought of it while I was running.

Thank you for the birthday cheer, Catherine, and for the prayer. 🙂

~Kelsey

12 02 2007
timglass

Happy birthday, Kelsey!
His blessings this day.

Thank you, Tim. I’m looking forward to my birthday, but I still have a couple of weeks. It’s on March 2nd, which is the same day as Dr. Seuss. I’ve always liked the fact that I have the same birthday as the author of “The Cat in the Hat.” 😉

~Kelsey

12 02 2007
Sundancer

Shannon has other people in her life who love her and take care of her. She is very lucky to have a sister as caring as you. Happy birthday to you all! As everyone in your family seems to have birthdays very close together 🙂
-Sharon

Thank you. Yes, all three of the girls in our family have birthdays very close together. Mine’s in the begining of Marth, though, so I don’t have to share a mounth with anyone. 😉

Thank you for taking the time to comment, Sharon.

~Kelsey

12 02 2007
Mrs. Nicklebee

Ah, getting read of the “teen” suffix. Or prefix, depending on who’s saying it. 😉 I can remember when I turned 20 and relate to what you said. That is so cool that you have the same birthday as Dr. Seuss!

You’re a good sister to be thinking about Shannon and how your Dad’s health affects her. She’s very blessed to have you.

Yes, it really does depend on who’s saying it. When I turned thirteen I didn’t like being called a “teen” at first, because I felt like I was being called something unpleasent. I’ve always thought it was cool I have the same birthday as Dr. Seuss, too. My claim to fame. 😉

~Kelsey

16 02 2007
hudds53

Kelsey, i have marked March 2nd. on my calendar, with my memory I just hope I remember to look at the calendar. In case I don’t have a wonderful birthday.
You are always in my heart, my thoughts and my prayers.
Bill

Thank you, Bill. 😀

~Kelsey

20 02 2007
babychaos

I’m really sorry about your dad. That’s tough. You talk about it with a lot of wisdom for one so young (sorry it sounds like I’m channelling Obiwan Kenobe for a moment there but hey, it’s true). Two old friends of mine who were sisters lost their dad pretty young, he had MS. I remember talking about this same thing with them and I know how hard they found it so I can imagine how tough it is for you. If I don’t happen to bimble in on 2nd March, have a fine day. Sharing a birthday with Dr Seuss is way cool.

Cheers

BC

Thank you, BC. It is tough, but it’s also given me a chance to grow-up sooner than some of my peers. I can see that the same thing has happened with my younger brother and sister. It’s s strange sometimes feelinng out of sink with people my own age (generally, they just don’t have enough life experience yet to even begin to understand), but at the same time, I wouldn’t trade what I’ve learned and gained through dealing with my dad’s health for the world.

Thank you for the early birthday wish. 🙂

~Kelsey

22 02 2007
michaelm

Awww, Kelsey.
You told me about this. My heart goes out to you.
I’m blown away by the fact that you’re only 20. My oldest daughter is 20.
You could be my daughter for God’s sake. 😉
That said, I love the way you view the world around you with such maturity.
It makes me sad that my mom and dad will never see my daughters grow.
This could be a very long comment so I’ll stop here and pick it up with an email.
Hang in there, Kelsey. The sun does eventually shine.
~m

Thank you, Michael. I’ve had a couple people comment that they were suprised by my age. I always take it as a compliment, because so many of my ages mates seem unable to even spell the word “dude” correctly half the time. 😛

It is sad your parents won’t be able to be their to watch your girls grow-up.

Emails always work, so feel free to fire away.

~Kelsey

22 02 2007
michaelm

Hey Kelsey-
I know I posted a comment on this earlier.
Did it go to the dreaded Spam folder?
Yikes.
~m

I just hadn’t approved it yet. I changed the comments setting on my site a little while ago so that I have to approve all comments first. Random spam about lawnmowers was getting through to my site and it’s easier to delete them before they ever get through. 😛

~Kelsey

23 02 2007
silverylizard

the comment you left on my water post was most thoughtful. i think you are getting a handle on the dilema of ‘who am i?’ much earlier than i am. but thats ok. i dont compare myself with others, who i am not. i am just me. still, its a thing we all face, in some form or fashion, asking ourselves ‘who am i?’ i am beginning to think, for me anyway, that ‘i am’ will be enough. my calling and personal identity have always been a mystery to me.

water is good enough. i love water.

i must remember this blog you have. i must book mark it. i had forgotten about it, and you post so many good things here. i relate to your wisdom of youth in a way, because i had similar insight when i was in my early years. ah, wisdom without direction … or a reliable rudder … dont leave home without them! 😀

i have had a bit of a disorder, skewed some of my decisions. but God is faithful, even when we are not (ie blow it really big time and again). my advice? never jump in haste. be patient. its worth it in the end.

thank you for your comments. they blessed me!

kïrstin

kïrstin,

I don’t know that I’ve figured out who I am, I think it’s more that I’ve decided I’m a lot of different things put together and have decided not to worry about it anymore than that.

I love water, too. I’ve always enjoyed going to the ocean and watching the water; it’s beautiful. 🙂

Thank you. I’m glad you like my blog. 🙂

~Kelsey

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