My father turns 60 today.
I, of course, have no sense of that. It’s largely inevitable, I think, that to some extent, your parents don’t age until they’ve truly grown old. My father was practically a child when I was born, 23 years old. When my youngest brother was born, he was my age, 36. When I was a toddler, when Matthew was born, I had no sense of how young those ages were. He was just a grown-up, mature and adult.
And, emotionally, that’s still how it seems, I suppose. There’s a certain logic to it, I suppose, since the difference between our ages remains constant as we both age — he’s always seemed the same amount more grown up because he’s always been the same amount more grown up.
And that’s the thing I respect most about my father.
I graduated from high school and began college two decades ago, when he was 40 years old. Again, at the time, that was old. Now, when 40 is rapidly coming into view, it seems much older. My youngest brother had just turned four when I left for Oxford.
At times, it amazes me the difference between my father and my brother’s father.
My father was a good man, and I’ve always respected him.
The man he is today is a much better man, and I respect him incredibly for that.
My father has very much become a role model to me, not so much for who he is, though one could do far worse that exemplifying that, but for who he continues to become.
There is not a year that has gone by that he has not become a better man, in so very many aspects of his life, and I hope, dearly hope, that when I’m his age, the same can be said about me. I hope that when I am his age, I am as much a better man than I am now than he has become during those years, and continues to become.
I hope that I, also, can be a man who, at any age, continues to grow in maturity and dignity and love and righteousness, who continues to be an ever better father and husband and boss and friend and grandfather and son and brother and follower of our mutual Father.
I’m not sure I’ve ever told him that I want to be like him, but I do.
I love you, dad. Happy birthday.