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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Happy Birthday Dad!

My dad is 79 today.  I wish I could be with him to celebrate with a big steak and a hot fudge sundae made with butter pecan ice cream.  But that'll have to wait until next time we're together.  But for today he is figuring loudly in my thoughts.
I love my dad.  He is a great man.  You've read about him here before but it never gets old to make sure your parents know how much you love and appreciate them.  My dad loves sports, is fiercely competitive, has a great sense of humor and loves people well.  I have inherited some of that and I am grateful.
My greatest regret in life remains not ever having had the chance to be a part of one of his teams.   He was a high school (American) football coach and was hugely successful.  
Coach Moon's smiling face after he won his first state championship, my senior year of high school, at my school.
He won two state championships and played in the final game 6 times.  He never lost a first round play-off game.  His players love him and many still keep in touch with him.  Sometimes I am envious of his players because they benefitted from his vast knowledge of the game they played and also were lucky enough to learn under his great leadership and teaching.  I never played on an extraordinary sports team, won championships, or benefitted from having a really fine coach.  Sometimes I wonder what kind of athlete I could've been if a Coach Mullen had been lurking in the wings of the women's volleyball teams I played on.  But when I feel most envious of the boys who have had this chance to know my father as a coach, I smile a little and feel sorry for them because while I missed out on playing for him, I get to be his daughter for life and nothing could ever be better than that.
We've grown even closer in these past 5 years as we've walked the road of grief after my brother died and as we've journeyed with my (also very courageous) mother through her fight against ovarian cancer.  I am grateful that my folks love my husband and embrace him so fully and that our times together in Palm Springs are always sprinkled with serious discussions, lots of humor, competitive card games (my parents always beat us much to our chagrin) and feelings of warmth and joy in the family we've been given.
So today I want to wish my dad the happiest of birthdays and make sure that not only he knows, but anyone who check in here knows, how much I love and respect him.  I'm so thankful that I get to share life's journey with you.  Happy Birthday Dad!