Happy 80th Birthday, Dad

J0341653Ten years ago, I wrote a poem for my dad’s 70th birthday, which was published in a local anthology produced by former Livermore resident Karen Hogan. Although we never talked about the poem, I think my dad liked it. The anthology sat on my parents’ coffee table for a long time.

Later, a slightly modified version of the poem appeared in my chapbook, Across An Aqueous Moon: Travels in Autism. During readings for the book, it was always a crowd favorite. (The one that mentions my mother was too.)

So this year, in honor of his 80th birthday, I wrote another poem for my dad. There is no local anthology now, so I thought I’d share it here.




Thank you for never telling me girls can’t go to college.
Thank you for slipping me twenties, insisting I have more fun.
Thank you for demonstrating how to efficiently pack a car.
Thank you for believing that I’d succeed in law school,
And demanding a budget when I bought my first house.
Thank you for (thinking but) not saying I should wait for a man.

Thanks for explaining word problems again and again.
Thanks for showing me how to pitch a tent.
Thanks for driving me to so many appointments with specialists,
And thanks for the tear-inducing toast you gave at my wedding.
Thanks for defining the meaning of reliable,
And thanks for making me work to win at Othello.

Thank you for staying after surgery although I said to leave.
Thank you for teaching me to drive your Ford Country Squire.
Thanks for talking Michael into rehab when I couldn’t find the words.
Thanks for cleaning my gutters after I kicked him out.
Thanks for watching my daughter when most others wouldn’t.
Thanks for accepting a fist bump instead of a hug.

Thank you for loving me despite my messy, unplanned life.
Thank you for loving me like a lighthouse in the dark.


Until next time,

About Cynthia J. Patton

Writer, Editor, Advocate, Speaker, Special Needs Attorney, and Autism Mom. Also the Founder and Chairperson of Autism A to Z, a nonprofit providing resources and solutions for life on the spectrum.
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