Happy 60th, Dad

I’ve been feeling guilty and selfish for not being in Michigan with you for your 60th birthday.

Mom, however, assured me it would be OK. (So if it’s not, we can blame her!)

Even though I can not physically be there to celebrate with you, February 27 will for me be Tom Hickner Day.

It is a miracle you are alive and with us 11 years after your transplant, and that’s part of why we sometimes express worry when you don’t take as good care of yourself as you should.

I look back at my childhood and youth when I was not as appreciative of your sacrifices and your superhuman patience as I should have been, and at times I was downright cruel. These days it’s my hope that I can help make up for all those years of callousness and that you can understand that I appreciate now all of your kindness and love.

You have raised 3 very challenging children and we’ve each given you a hard time in our own ways, but you never complain, and you have always been there to help when we asked.

As I’ve grown older I’ve learned from watching you — your refusal to complain, your quiet leadership, your warmth and your friendliness. There’s never any fuss or unnecessary confrontation. Everyone who meets you seems to love you. At least that’s how it seems to me.

I know many people, yourself included, who didn’t still have their dad around when they were my age. I’m very grateful that I do, and though we’re hundreds of miles apart, I’m celebrating your 60th birthday with you in spririt.

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