Today is my dad’s 80th birthday. My dad has been such a wonderful and positive influence in my life. But what gift can you purchase for someone that has everything materialistically that he wants?
I decided to craft this poem expressing my gratitude, some of the lessons I’ve learned, and experiences we’ve had. I’m sharing it publicly to celebrate how wonderful my father is on his special day, but also to spread some of the impactful lessons I’ve learned.
Dad, it’s your 80th birthday and not just any gift will do.
So, I decided to write this poem for you.
There’s so much to say…
Where do I start?
You’ve loved me from day one with all your heart.
You read to me when I was small while I sat on your knee.
And often put me high on your shoulders so I could see.
We’d add license plates up to work on my math,
and by the time I hit school I was far down the right path.
You encouraged me to develop my voice and speak my mind
and address problems head on so they don’t sneak up from behind.
You were always there for me and did what a father should
and corrected me when I was wrong and not being good.
You’ve always had my back and picked me up when I fell.
You inspired me to dream and pushed me to excel.
You encouraged me to be great in all that I do
and taught me the process for making my dreams come true.
Stay focused and work hard to persevere…
and find the best mentors to be in your ear.
You dedicated so much of yourself to help me achieve,
investing so much time that many would not believe.
We spent many hours in the gym at Greenway, Duquesne or Pitt…
I’d have to make 10-20 in a row before I could quit.
You were at every game and never missed a beat,
and would drive us long hours where my Cleveland team would meet.
And when I was down or feeling blue,
you gave me the wisdom and perspective to help me get through.
You inspired me as a leader, a principal with thousands at your school
With rival gangs, fights and challenges you always kept your cool.
We’ve shared so much together and had many fun times.
Way too many to pack into these few rhymes.
Trips to Giant Eagle, you’d leave all the workers with lots of smiles
A short trip would always take a long while.
South Dakota, Arizona…so many places we’d go.
In Jersey we got stuck in a hotel for days due to snow.
No itinerary needed, you and I always had a blast.
We’d sit and talk and let the time pass.
Being a new parent, I appreciate you and Mom so much more.
Lindsay & I didn’t know all the hard work we had in store.
Alana & Cruz are very blessed to have their grand-dad’s love
Whether from Pittsburgh or one day shining down from above.
And even though you’re far away and can’t teach them directly
The lessons you taught pass through me effectively.
Through it all I know this much to be true,
I couldn’t have asked for a better dad than you.
And Daddio, I have one more final thing to say…
I wish you a very happy 80th birthday.