Happy Birthday To You!

“Um, Daddy I need you to sit in the backseat in the middle. Please.”

I knew K was up to something, but I wasn’t sure what. She had asked to talk to her Mommy on Friday and told me to turn off the speaker phone. I asked her if it was some girly thing or other and she said yes. When I asked Netter about it later, because we usually tell each other everything, she told me K wanted to surprise me with something and to just let it go. So I did.

Now it was Sunday, we were walking out of Kohl’s and K was asking me to sit in the middle of the backseat. I had no idea why, but because it was also her birthday, and we were only getting to spend a brief window of time, part of which was shopping for her gift, none of which was any time at home with her busy 19-year old self; you know, the college life,  I complied.

“Okay, close your eyes.”

“What? Why?”


So I did.

“Okay, open ‘em.”

I couldn’t believe what I was looking at and the tears just started to flow. Try as I might, I couldn’t turn them off. Even now as I type this my eyes are welling up. It was just that cool.

During her clandestine conversation with her Mommy on Friday, K had asked Netter to bring along our copy of The Birthday Book by Dr. Seuss.  (not an affiliate link, I just like Amazon and think you should buy a copy for you & your family.)
We have been reading this book every year on the girls’ birthdays since the day they were born. It was a book I had from my childhood that I really liked, but my copy was old and beat up and had a couple of nicks and marks that kept me from wanting to save it so Netter bought our family a new copy and inscribed it with a Dr. Seuss inspired poem for the first Christmas after the twins were born. When D was born, Netter added a new verse to the poem for her as well. Netter also added the handprints of each of the girls to the inside cover.

This is a very special book in our family, but I am disappointed to admit in the business that was Sunday and with all the hectic happenings at our house lately as we work on replacing a damaged vehicle (another post for another day), the book had somehow slipped my mind.

As my children have grown I’ve tried to build traditions that are uniquely our own. Oh, I’ve included what little I remember from my childhood, but without going into a lot of detail, well, there’s just not much there tradition-wise. One or two things, but nothing unique, nothing remarkable really. I’m not complaining. As they say, it just is what it is.

Still, I wanted more for my girls.

So there I was reading The Birthday Book to my girls in the backseat of a hot cramped car on a Sunday afternoon in February. I worked through the tears. I read with the clearest voice I could muster. I tried to do all of the accents and the rhythms and everything the book has evolved into for us over the course of 19 years...

I felt like the luckiest Daddy ever, and I enjoyed every single minute of it.

I wish we could do what they do in Katroo.

Whether your name is Nate, Delaney or Ned or Pete, Kailey or Paul...


As I’ve told her many times - That was very cool K. Thank you!

Feeling very fortunate to have such a gift on “your” birthday.

But then I always feel fortunate and privileged to have 2 such wonderful girls and to be their Daddy.

I love you both very much!

I am I!
And I may not know why
But I know that I like it.

Three cheers!  I AM I!


Melissa Basel said...

I almost cried reading this! I love the traditions your family has and I am honored to be considered a part of your beautiful family! :)

kailey_chow said...

I love you, Daddy :)

Kathy Hennessy said...


Kathy Hennessy said...


Cat Fithian said...

That is so beautiful. What lovely young women you have parented, you and Netter.