September 29, 2009

Happy birthday, dad. And thanks. For everything.

With this Friday quickly approaching, and my always fast-paced social schedule (ha), I decided to post this blog a little early. You see, this Friday would be my dad's 58th birthday. As most of you already know, my dad passed away very unexpectedly a few weeks after his birthday 2 years ago. The following is a little something I like to call "Happy birthday, dad. And thanks. For everything."

Thank you for......
  • making me the most punctual person to ever breathe air.
  • not letting me quit anything... ever.
  • threatening to, but never actually following through with announcing "Carla Sawatski, #41 on the court, #1 in your heart" at my basketball games.
  • teaching me how to "really" shoot a 3-pointer... and swing a golf club... and swing a bat... and do anything, really.
  • making me your favorite child (hate to be the one to spill the beans).
  • running with me every morning at 5 a.m. And by that, I mean responding to my sarcastic "good night dad, want to wake me up at 6 a.m. for a run?" with "well, there's no need to waste the day, how about 5?".
  • giving me no other option but to love sports.
  • reminding me not to sweat the small stuff. For example, Jay just happened to get drafted by the Twins the same week that I made my first C on a test. And your response was "did you see the P.A. marquee? It says 'congratulations Jay Sawatski on getting drafted by the Minnesota Twins'. Yeah... and on the other side, it says 'Congratulations Carla Sawatski for making a 78 on her Chemistry test. It's about time.'"
  • still having a bag phone (circa 1992) in your possession until 2007, just in case you needed it.
  • reminding me, every time I left the house in the rain, that the roads were going to be slick. Every.single.time.
  • having a home remedy for everything. And I mean everything.
  • teaching me that "if you can't say something nice, at least try to make it funny". And while we're at it... thank you mom, for the soap in the mouth.
  • taking me on dates when I was little and letting me pick everything we did, even when I had a bowl cut.
  • always sarcastically suggesting that instead of going out, my friends and I should stay home and play a game of Scrabble with you, secretly wishing we would take you up on it.
  • making sure that I knew you loved me... for me.
  • coming to change my tire in high school at 2 a.m. when I was supposed to be home at midnight.
  • tricking me into riding my first upside-down roller coaster when I was 7.
  • being good at everything.
  • having 6 computer monitors on your desk. Because you needed that many.
  • never being able to tell me "no".
  • reminding Natalie and me that "you're the same person on the inside no matter what color your hair is". Which was black. After an at-home coloring experiment went terribly wrong.
  • coming to Fayetteville for all of the Hog football games when I was in college. Which meant that I could count on you to skip the game, come eat at the restaurant at which I waited tables, watch the game on the ancient 24" TV that stood 50 feet away, and still leave a generous tip.
  • trusting me to make my own decisions, but still being there when I screwed it up.
  • having a never-ending supply of Hawaiian shirts.
  • calling me, like clockwork, every Sunday night "just to hear my voice".
  • teaching me the value of a dollar by refusing to turn on the heat until the first snowfall.
  • being my alarm clock, but more importantly for laying down on my bed and letting me sleep for 10 more minutes.
  • knowing what was wrong with my car, even if you were just listening to it on speakerphone.
  • saying that all 5 of us laughing at old home videos on Christmas Eve was the best present you could ask for. And meaning it.
  • being my voice of reason when I was bawling my eyes out at Wal-Mart when my car battery died and I was trying to get home for Thanksgiving by saying, "Carla, shut up and buy a new battery. It's not that big of a deal." And it wasn't.
  • hugging me a trillion and one times.
  • teaching me life. Simply by living yours the way it was meant to be lived.

I only hope that someone could say "Carla, you are your father's daughter". What a compliment. I miss you and I love you plenty. Happy birthday.


  1. Okay... I know I usually give very sarcastic comments, but this time, I can't. This post is so wonderful! I laughed (thinking of the Hawaiian shirts...because yes, I think that's all I ever saw him in) and cried thinking of what a blessing He was for so many people. What a wonderful tribute, Carla. I am amazed at your strength through all of this!

  2. Carla, loved this blog! Made me laugh and cry all at the same time! I love that you wrote this! Hope your family has a great day celebrating this amazing man that has allowed me to meet and know 2 of these most amazing women. Love to you!

  3. Carla, this is so great. I am praying for you guys this week... He was amazing, and you are so lucky to have had him as you dad.

  4. aww made me tear up! i feel ya girl! this made me want to do one! birthdays and holidays are always tough. you're a very strong person to handle things so positively. one day we'll get to run and jump in our daddy's arms again and we'll be with them forever then!

  5. I loved reading this. Thanks for sharing.

  6. My Dear Sweet Carlymae,

    That second picture is one of my favorites ever. I LOVE the look on your face. It is hilarious. Your Dad is the only one smiling.

    I was actually thinking about the hair episode just the other day and how we washed it with Tide to get the color out. My Mom loves to tell the "perm" story all the time but the color was just as bad. (MAN we did some DUMB stuff with our hair).
    Anyway the quote from your Dad when we did that was one of the wisest things I've ever heard (including things said by Shakespeare, George W. Bush and Jesus).

    I miss your Dad and I see so very much of him in you! You are DEFINITELY your father's daughter! And just like with him you're number one in my heart. Love you!!

    P.S. I also love the story about changing the tire. The way I remember it is he didn't even say anything he just showed up, changed the tire and went back home to bed ha ha.