ode to my father on his 50th

He has this funny way of saying ‘daughters’–
It’s always made me smile.
With an accent all his own that’s always
Made me think he fashioned the word
Into something new, something a little different.
A word that’s never been said before
Because when he says it,
Somehow it’s bigger.
Somehow it tries in vain to
Disclose just how much it means to him,
How much he’s willing to give up,
How far he’s willing to go.
Almost 27 years of saying it,
And it’s only gotten bigger.

The Atlantic in the summer is a beautiful paradox.
A beauty which can sweep you away in a second
Or gently lull your heart to sleep — she will decide.
She will choose whether to love you or to kill you–
Because she can do both.
She grabs hold of every sense you’ve got
And holds them all at attention.
You can’t help but respect her.
She gently rinses you within herself,
Rocks you slowly,
Knocks you around,
Teaches you to swim–for real,
Reminds you of everything that is good.
It is a precious thing to love The Atlantic.
But even more to be loved by her.

He is an ocean.
He is much younger than The Atlantic,
Yet much older than the bike rides he used to take you on,
Or the softball practices,
Or the sailor out west,
Or your ballerina costume,
And yet,
Not quite the 50 that he is today.
He is strong.
He is devoted.
He is steady.
He is honorable.

He reminds you of everything that is good.
It is a precious thing to love him.
But even more to be loved by him.
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