Today my Papi turns 70.
Last night, we celebrated with family in a German restaurant in an old house. Pictures of his life filled the room. The scent of daphne — his favorite smell in the world — filled the air.
Brightly-colored drawings of Opa by his grandchildren lovingly held the space in front of him. Each one accompanied by their own words:
“My Opa is fun.”
“My Opa is awesome.”
“I like to play at the park with Opa.”
“My Opa is funny.”
“My Opa is strong.”
We laughed at Papi’s old photos. The size of that long-ago mustache and how much he loved that soft Chuck E. Cheese t-shirt. We noticed how much the grandchildren looked like him in various seasons of life.
I saw for the first time his senior picture. He was just 16, and darling.
We presented Papi with a book of memories — words of loving appreciation, filled by friends and family.
His sister and brother shared pages of childhood stories my sister and I never knew.
Early in the evening, I carried a vase of daphne outside to rescue a spider that sat on one of the leaves. Just as Papi taught us.
Papi always demonstrated that how we care for small things matters. How we tend to and appreciate the life we’re given matters.
“If you don’t have something you’re passionate about,” my papa has often said, “what do you have to live for?”
Last night, Papi’s impassioned life filled the room, mingling with the scent of those spring blooms.
And the memories.
Joyful squeezes of daughters and grandchildren.
Wide-smiling photos at the altar, at the park, in his office, daughters by his sides, holding his trusty firetruck.
Thanks and tears rimming hazel eyes.
We love you so much, Papi. Happy birthday, and many more.
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I love this. Thank you for incapsulating the evening for us so beautifully. We will always treasure this special time spent together celebrating this wonderful man, our Papi!!! Happy birthday papa!!
Thank you, Sissy. So overjoyed to share in this with you.
Grateful tears of my own! From the bottom of my heart, I thank you and Ali for such a beautiful, meaningful, joyous and loving celebration of all that your Papi is! My heart overflows.
Thank you, precious Mama.
THE BEST BIRTHDAY EVER…felt like bavarian royalty. I adore you my daughters and grands. I am immeasurably proud of my great sons-in-law. An unforgettable evening filled with the past…the future with all of you I am really excited about. Thank you my precious daughters for being my golden treasures. I am so grateful!
Bavarian royalty — yes, you are! It’s official. Thank you for your dear words, Papa. We are so grateful and were overjoyed to be able to celebrate you! Love you so much!
A lovely tribute, Ashley. Happy birthday, Pete :). It is wonderful learning more about you through the eyes & hearts of your children and grandchildren, and your responses in draw near :)
Thank you, Deb. :)
Your Family speaks reams of the fine man you are, Pete. Happy Birthday!
Splendid job Ladies.
Sweet, precious Ashley. Your words overwhelm me and like your Mom, I am crying tears of gratitude that my brother was blessed by God to have you and Ali as his most precious Earthly gifts. I am also grateful for your Mom who made this happen. Your Pappi was further blessed with his sons-in-law and all the grandchildren. I love you talking about their pictures and captions. I love y’all (lol)bso much and send lots of love and many hugs to Oregon!
Auntie Claudia, thank you so much for being there with us in spirit. Your memories of Papi that you shared are treasures. I am so thankful for the sister he has in you. We love you so much and can’t wait to see you in our neck of the woods someday!
Loving words for your Papi I’m sure he loved every minute of it.
He said he felt like Bavarian Royalty. I think that’s pretty good. :)
What a lovely birthday gift:) 70 is so young, I think.. and the beautiful legacy of family he has created… lovely!!
Thank you, Smidge. :)
Loved reading this tribute to your father on this special birthday of his…what a special daughter and family he has! ;)