Numbers Pictures - 2- ColorNumbers Pictures -1 - Color

Beet (short for Sugar beet–for those reading and wondering–I have called both girls this since they were babies), I have to confess to you that I am stumped to what to give you for your 21st birthday.  Sure I could join with everyone else and give you alcohol, drinking glasses, and maybe a margarita machine.  I just don’t want to be like everyone else.

So I am taking a different tact.  I want to go over the twenty-one reasons that I celebrate your birth.

C and M - Feb 16 1995

Reason 1.  I saw you first.  For the first time, I understood unconditional love the moment in the hospital when I held you in my hands.  It is something that is hard to explain to a non-parent.  Your birth was especially a sweet when we were unsure if a child was in the cards.  A childless marriage was something that we thought was a possibility as your mother and I struggled to have you and considering our ages at the time. There were moments in the hospital as I sat there watching you with your wide-open eyes that appeared to understand the world around that I understood what it means to know that I truly mattered.

20141215_112211Reason 2.  You are your father.  *Sorry about that*  I see myself in you.  The good and the bad; the strength and the strong-willfulness.  You have my sense of humor.  I am proud that you have inherited the hatred of failure and the idea that you can always just apply more effort to a difficult situation.

12002050_10207771075103099_6292584886211677500_nReason 3
.  You have decided to take a career that serves others.  I cannot adequately express in words how much you becoming a nurse makes me  proud.  You have decided to dedicate your life to easing the suffering of others; in a world that thinks that the world should pivot on their wants and desires this is notable.  I have  loved your moments of compassion that are glimpses to your future.  You have always had a soft spot for those that are wounded.

C, M, and Kelli -- LuauReason 4.  Your year as my cadet teacher meant so much to me.  It gave me chance to spend time with you and for a group of my students to meet you.  There were kids that you were able to reach that others would have not stuck with.  You also were so much your father in your directness, compassion, and “no excuse” mentality with kids.  Having you jump right in with my kids was so much help.  If the teaching environment was different I would have encouraged you to forego all other careers and become a teacher.  You have that “it factor” that great teachers have; it is something that cannot be taught.  Someday I would love to see you go back to school and become a teacher of nurses.  It would blend all those things that you are passionate about together.

C, M, and L - Mike USAF Retirement - 1995

Reason 5.  You provided the push that I needed to leave the security of the military and put down roots.  Your mom and I married late in my career and there was a REALLY GOOD chance that I was going to have to be gone for a year on an unaccompanied tour overseas.  Doing so would have meant a longer career and promotion, but this little round-faced, olive-skinned beauty made me not want to miss a moment with her.  The idea of being gone would have been too much to bear.  Therefore, “Hello Retirement” and as result me becoming a teacher.

2012 (4) tecumseh fassold x2 nominationsReason 6.  You make me laugh.  Stories that you tell are made funnier because you have a gift of making people laugh.  Your willingness to make fun of yourself makes you even better at the craft.

Caitlin - 7thReason 7.  You will forgive me for posting your 7th grade school picture.  That is what separates family from friends; we have to forgive each other because our connection is at the DNA level.  Even when your father may by “accident” post an embarrassing picture you will find yourself forgiving your father because our love is unbreakable.  #lovedad #pleasecallmeda

Caitlin helping Allison ride bike - Sisters PictureReason 8.  You help your sister when she REALLY needs it.  Now I wish that you each were kinder to each other; I know deep in my heart that you have each other.  You loved your “sissy” from the start; of course, we did have to keep you from hitting her on the heart too hard when you kept saying “my sissy” and there were those times when you kept shoving her out of the Little Tykes garden yelling “mine sissy”.

2012 (4) tecumseh fassold x2 dance 3Reason 9.  You are not afraid of dancing. I know that this has never been mentioned, but you are not blessed with great rhythm.  I love the fact you dance with a smile on your face and joy in your heart. Dancing the Electric Cotton-Eyed Joe with you at Camp Tecumseh brings a smile to my face.  The fact you wanted to dance with me at Camp Tecumseh brings me even greater joy.  I know being my daughter in a school system where I teach has not always been easy, but you accepted it for what it was and you found joy in it.

AFA State - June 2011 - C and M - TrophyReason 10.  You let me be your coach.  I loved being YOUR coach.  It was your choice always.  You know that coaching was never as important to me as being with you.  I would have been as satisfied being in a folding chair cheering you on.  Some of my favorite memories with you were the discussions to and from the Wade Gym.  The stops at Starbucks and Hong Kong Cuisine; the laughs and the talks are forever etched in my mind.  You are and will forever be my favorite player.

C and M - 6 BDay - 2001Reason 11.  You made me feel like a hero.  The hugs, the thank yous when I fixed something for you, made you something, painted something or just took you to breakfast on Saturday mornings could make everything worth it.  You have always been able to bring clarity to my place in the world no matter how deep in the chasm I was mentally.  As a dad, there is nothing better.

C - In Dads Slippers - 1997Reason 12.  I never have to worry about you being able to fill my shoes.  When I am gone you will make deeper foot prints than I ever did.  Someday you will save someone’s life.  There is no doubt that kid that you will move mountains.

Father and Daughter Dance - C and MReason 13.  You gave me so many fun times at Father-Daughter events.  I loved being able to dress up, dance, and just laugh.  I really enjoyed when we had our 50’s event because dancing with your feet on top of my feet still gives me goose bumps.  I can still feel your little hands in my hands as I tried not to squeeze too hard.  Every father should have these moments with a daughter.  You did not even complain about my singing since I knew every song that they played.

M and C - NJHS InductionReason 14. You shared school with me during your junior high years.  Your work on the yearbook helped make your 8th grade yearbook one of the best we ever put out.  You put in so many hours that snow filled year.  Between us that year we did most of the book.  Hugging you when you were inducted into our school’s National Junior Honor Society brought me such pride.  I loved how you choose to volunteer at Cumberland Road Elementary School for your community service hours.  I think it put you on a path of service.

12239891_10208101601446051_5507231047170534241_nReason 15.  I love how dedicated you are to BSU Dance Marathon.  You go canning, serve in leadership, fund raise, and unearth those dancing moves all-night in the name of kids.  Your sheer joy in serving inspires others to do the same.  It makes me proud to see you leading dances and cheering you team on during the night.  You even sacrifice wearing yellow which we all know you hate.   This is your third year of working with this worthy cause.

12341086_10208202665692594_2841229337811404130_nReason 16.  I love how much time you spend with your Grandma Inman when she is here.  You take her out and spoil her. I love you patience and kind heart.  In life there are two ways to look at situations; I love that you choose to find the joy in being with family.  You make me proud.

12004698_10207771075983121_6443402571136889277_nReason 17.  Who would ever have thought that my nursing school student would make the dean’s list both nursing semesters and become the Alpha Phi academic chair.  You passing on the value of hard work and the not-so-secret secret to success makes me sure that someday you will be in charge of teaching future nursing students the ropes.

51ku+yorYUL._SL500_SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Reason 18.  You are responsible for ending Babe Ruth’s curse. When you were in your bracelet making phase you made one in the Red Sox colors for me to wear during the playoffs after the New York Yankees had destroyed them Game 3.  After I put that bracelet on they never lost again…8 straight victories.  My best non-family moment in my life; sitting on the hands and knees begging for the Game 4 of the World Series to end in a win.  Tears of joy rolling down my face.  The world will never know the service that you brought to New England.

6272_10205191939586323_5312373473416272862_nReason 19.  Dad’s Day.  My favorite thing about you being in a sorority is all the fun we have had during Dad’s Day.  We have fired guns, run obstacle courses, faced on go-cart tracks, and gambled like Vegas.  Everything we have done as been a day or night of laughs and memories.  We had a chance to compete together, win a rubber chicken, shoot targets (where your shooting would stop any intruder), work on self-defense, try to put Taylor in the wall, and for a brief moment in time rule the blackjack table.

C, A, D with Counselor SweatshirtReason 20.  You and your sister were part of the reason that Camp Tecumseh was saved in our district.  I worked so hard writing people and contacting people because I wanted you both to be able to go Camp as students and counselors.  I wanted you to experience as students the best example of teaching our district has to offer.  Also, you deserved to receive the rewards that counselors understand.  The year when both you and Ally were at Camp as counselor made me shed more than a few tears.  Saying goodbye at the senior breakfast “tear-fest” was doubly hard, but the sense of relief that washed over me made everything worth it.  Take pride in knowing that you played a part in saving this great institution.

Veterans Day 2008 (53)Reason 21.    That day you read your Veteran’s Day tribute to me at the 8th grade convocation.  It is the greatest honor that I have ever received.  I still have your speech in my desk at home and it gets pulled out every Veteran’s Day since your 8th grade year.  I cannot imagine at 13 years of age standing in front of a 1000 of my classmates in a room filled with adult guests and show the class and bearing you showed on that day.

Happy birthday beet.  If you were older I would have been able to include going to movies (especially Disney movies), singing along, Blue Cheese dressing, crying at movies, crying reading books, napping on the couch, crime solving television shows you putting up with me.  Have a great 21st birthday.  Change the world for the better.