Happy Birthday, Daddy

So it’s my dad’s birthday. Which for the first 50 years of his life was a perfectly good birthday to have. But on his 51st birthday, that all went to hell.

It’s got to be weird, having your birthday be a national day of mourning.

One of my high school friends has his birthday today, too. And I know no one is saying he and Dad and others who have this birthday can’t celebrate. But conspicuous celebration on a day like today is . . . Well, it doesn’t feel right.

Most people say, “Celebrate on a different day, the day before or after.” But it’s kinda lousy not to be able to celebrate your actual birthday.

This isn’t an argument, just an observation. I’m not saying, “They should be allowed to celebrate.” I’m only acknowledging the difficulties and the mixed feelings. Dad’s a veteran, after all. And he’s never said to me he wished he could have his birthday on his birthday, so I’m probably just projecting, imagining how I’d feel. I think about kids actually born on September 11, 2001 and wonder how strange that must feel—every time they fill out a form . . . SMH. Or maybe you don’t think about it that much after a while. I don’t know.

But in any case, I want to wish my dad a Happy Birthday. Even as I know silence will be observed at so many places, even as social media fills with images and memorials: Happy Birthday, Daddy. You’re worth celebrating.