I didn’t grow up in America. I grew up in Canada. I celebrated something different on the 4th of July. Walking around the last few days people are saying to me “happy 4th” and “I hope you have a good 4th” I spare them the tears I have been choking back. Instead I smile and wish them the same back. I mean how could they know. How could they know that I should be at home baking a cake for my dad. Hearing him remind us all again that he is certain American’s adore him because of the party they throw each year for his birthday. They don’t know the last time I wished my dad a happy birthday was ten years ago. They don’t know how desperately I wish he lived to see the age of 72 so my teenaged boys could blow out candles with him and make jokes about how old he is getting. They don’t know any of this when the say wish me a celebration on a day that I know will come with tears.
Still I will celebrate. With the afore mentioned cake and feasting on favorites that would certainly appear at any party made for my dad. I know it’s what he’d want. Us living on in the boldest ways possibly. He wouldn’t want anything to stop because of him. He wouldn’t ask for somber moments. So alongside the tears that spill from my eyes there will be laughter. Stories, on repeat that they boys can now tell themselves without any help from me, about the man they lost before really getting to know him. Becuase without this day none of what is before me right now would exist. And when I look into the eyes of the young men I call my sons, I am grateful for the birth of the man would brought me into the world so that I might know them. When I get a call from my nephews and we giggle together I am grateful for the son my father raised to bring those two human beings into the world. When his words ring in my mind over and over again “it’s about the love Shan,” I am drop to my knees grateful for the lessons he gave to me, especially in the final year of his life when he was embracing growth and change at rapid speeds.
Yes today alongside my grief, there will be buckets of joy and gratitude for what this day, in 1945, brought upon the world, to be my father, my son’s grandfather, a wise teacher and the giver a love that continues beyond his physical existence. Here’s to you dad.

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