Andrew Swan [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, December 01, 2011 11:16 AM
To: Greg Swan; The Kid; Tam Tam; Tam Tam; Jack Swan; Aunt Jo Jo; Aunt Kathy; Aunt Lynn; Uncle Dave
Subject: Happy Birthday Dad! Caution: Sentimental materials enclosed may cause emotional turbulence
50!!!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
Dear Dad/Greg/The Kid/Wando
Happy Birthday! Just when I thought you couldn't get ANY older, you go through another year like this, AND TOTALLY REDEEM YOURSELF! I, your firstborn son, am now almost half your age and may be in more denial than even you about it. However, I could not be any happier to be sober, to have lived through some wonderful and trying times, and to have the honor to be called your son.
Of course how could I forget how it all began when you
considered it an icebreaker with my friends to tell the story of my conception.
The secret agents on that elevator in Canada and the impulsive curiosity which I
inherited, to follow the "men in black" to whatever floor they were going. The
stories go on though, from holding me up as a sacrificial offering to the splash
of Shamu to running over a kid at home plate trying to get a best lap time
around the bases. And how could I forget the "Trifecta." As a new kid at St.
Jerome's you pulled up to the movie theater 1. blaring country music with the
top down 2. asked aloud if these were my "youthgroup buddies" and 3. "Get in the
car, you need sleep so we can get up early to go to BoyScout camp tomorrow!"
However, Dad, through all of this I remember one thing in particular about you. You were always THERE for me. You were the one guy in my life whom I saw as having his priorities straight- God, family, and work. You were there when I needed someone to talk to. You were there when I was sick from school. You were there to go to boyscout meetings, baseball practice, and basketball games with enough energy leftover to take me out to Culver's and spend some time mentoring me. You were there when I was mad at mom. You were there for a pickup game of basketball or when I just wanted to hang out at your office after school. Sure there were times when you may forget about something and Mom would hold it against you but I didn't. I felt like I could see your heart and it ALWAYS wanted to be a good father, good mentor, good example, and a great friend. I didn't care about half the things even in your addiction because I loved you the way you loved me- with the faults we have. I wasn't in denial about your mistakes at times, I just knew that deep down you always WANTED to do the right thing. It's scary how alike we are.
Of course, life is full of lots of things for us to look back on with regret or admiration. The ups and downs that just seem to come whether we're ready or not. So the most important thing you ever gave me is the only thing that matters in my life today- a relationship with a loving, caring, understanding, and just God. You bought me numerous Bibles and did your best to get me to read things that you only knew would help me. This has given me a faith that is beyond even my own comprehension and I'm so thankful to you for it. I remember when I brought friends back to the house I would hear you evangelizing to them. Speaking about the one answer to the sometimes incomprehensible and unfair events in life that are unique to each person. I would be at times embarrassed and other times annoyed but sometimes I would feel like "Why don't I GET IT?" Why can't I accept that either today, or tomorrow, or much further down the road after I've learned the hard way am I going to realize that my life is fleeting and Jesus Christ is the only thing WORTH LIVING FOR! Well the answer is that I'm an addict. I need to learn the hard way. I needed to go out an taste the desires of the flesh and what the world had to offer me. But because of my upbringing, I always was left with my feet in two different places. I can't walk two paths, especially when they lead in opposite directions.
So this morning, I just wanted to write you a little something about how thankful I am for you Dad. For you in my life and what that has meant to me as a little 10 year old BoyScout and even now as a lost 23 year old who, like the prodigal son, just wants to come home. My eyes get teary as I say this but I love you so much Dad. You are so wonderful and I would not have traded having you as my father for ANYTHING ON THIS PLANET. Not money, not comfort, not relationships, not travel, not a person. You are unique, and you are MY FATHER. My jealous friends who wrote their hero papers on you have NOTHING compared to the drive, ambition, and motivation you instilled in me and Jack. Maybe, now that you know how I look up to you, you can understand a little of where I was coming from when I was there in Michigan. For you will always be my hero Dad. I'm thankful everyday for you. You love me so much and made me always feel special inside and out.
You may not have a favorite son between me and Jack but at least we can say we have a favorite father- Greg Swan. My Dad, My hero. Happy Birthday Pops, it's your day so enjoy it!
With love from the heart,
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Spring Break 2005: