Keep On Growing


Today is Daddy's birthday.
He would have been 55.

I decided to stay home today, which is good. Last year his birthday was on Easter Sunday and I was barely functional. I was hoping today was going to be sunny and warm and I would be inspired to clean and work and get stuff done. Instead it is cold and rainy and all I am inspired to do is sleep.

I bought him birthday presents this year. I know I only bought them for me, but it made me feel better. I always bought frog and turtle chotchkies for Dad, and last year, when I saw a beaded frog in a store, I thought "oh! Dad would love this!" and then only got sad. Fuzzy suggested that I go ahead and buy those type of things for him, only now we can put them out at the cemetery. So that is what I did. The store didn't have the beaded frogs anymore, but I got a set of turtle windchimes for the shepherds hook we have out there (which already has frog windchimes) and then I got a giant stone turtle to put on the grassy part. His grave already has a rabbit and a gnome and some cats on it, so these turtles will be in good company.

Baby Erica and Dad
(one of the first pics of me and Dad)

I don't remember his last birthday on earth. I know I went home to share it with him, but I don't remember anything that we did. I was going home a lot then, so all the trips blur together, but I am really frustrated that I can't remember if he was sick or well or if he had a good day or if he had to work...maybe he did have to work and that was the trip he showed me the Star Wars slot machines...I don't know. I did a search in my email to see if I could get any clues, and all that I emailed about that weekend was shows and films I was helping with in Chicago. I can't help but feel stupid for that.

Years ago, at a Christmas party for my beloved improv group KOKO, Megan gave me a Circle Journey book, a book where you scrapbook and mail it back and forth with a friend or relative so you can have an account of your memories. She gave it to me to use with Dad, which is just about the sweetest idea ever, only I was too scared to use it or send it, because I knew it would be acknowledging that he was really sick. It is sitting right now on my shelf in the office, unused. What I wouldn't give to have it filled.

When I think of my father, I only smile. He was such a wonderful loving and hilarious man. He had cute freckled arms and that big old beard. He made dirty jokes and fart jokes and we used to play a game growing up called Hug My Babies. He and I could talk on the phone forever playing songs for each other--him telling me songs to download and then us listening to them together. He always wanted you to know the artist of every song on the radio, and he would recite the lyrics to songs while the song played to make sure you knew what the song was about. He always started watching the first scene in a movie before everyone was ready, just to see what it looked like. He rarely drank, but when he did and got tipsy, he would turn red and start giggling, covering his face. It was so adorable. The year Rebecca and I did Arabesque, Mom, Dad, Christopher and Jeremy all came into town on his birthday weekend to see it. We went to our regular post-show outing at the Heaven on Seven that used to be on Clark to hear Professor John play, drink hurricanes and eat peanut butter pie. The night of his birthday, we called a bunch of friends to come join us, including Jeff and Piero, and we did shots and moved the tables and danced and had the best time.

(one of the last photos of me and Dad)

In scanning in all these family photos, one thing is clear--Mom and Dad were just little guys trying to raise us-making it up as they went. By the time they were my age, they had a 5 and a 7 year old, and we kids had the best childhood. Mom and Dad didn't have much more than their love for each other, and that remained true until the day he died. I am so grateful for my wonderful parents, and I can't imagine how Mom must be feeling on a day like today. He was her everything.

We have so much to celebrate on a day like today. David Reid was an incredible man who never met a stranger and never had an enemy. I know that he would want me to laugh and smile and have fun today, but I also know that he would say "Come here, Girl," wrap me in his arms and tell me it is ok to cry.



Happy birthday, Papa Reid!

Erica, I hope you're doing okay today... I'm sending you a virtual hug.


I so wanted it to be sunny for you today (especially after such a beautiful weekend). I'm glad you took the day off, though. I'm sending positive energy your way today as you remember and celebrate your daddys birthday!
Big hug, kid.

My thoughts are with you today! Your bit about the beaded frog made me think of this (which also coincidentally always makes me laugh):

Big hugs to you! I hope you are doing okay. I'm glad you took the day off. Get all the sleep you want and need!

You are your father's daughter alright. I didn't know your dad but he sounds a lot like you, in all the best possible ways.


Sounds like the apple fell very close to the tree.

Tomorrow will be a better (and probably rainer) day.

Tell Fuzzy that rebar said he should make you a cup of tea.

Got my ticket. I will hug you in person Friday, April 10 at 3:37pm - or whenever you can get off work to come get me. Love you.

Erica, I'm a friend of Fuzzy's from his "Outliers" days at Purdue.

I've never had the privilege of meeting you but do frequently visit your and Fuzzy's blogs.

I've been very moved by your stories about your father for some time now.

I have two young daughters, ages 5 and 4. They are the lights of my world. And if they grow to regard me with half as much love and respect and you do of your father, my life will be rich beyond imagining.

Your tributes to your father have inspired me to be the best daddy I can be.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.