Happy birthday

Happy birthday to dad. The best: Lego builder, sea shell collector, restaurant finder, rc driver, pancake maker, roller coaster ride giver, soccer goalie, scooter racer and angry bird attacker around.

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miramar

this year, miramar kinda snuck up on us.  sadly so did the heat.  people it was just hot. just mom, dad, colin, me and 100,000 of our closest friends. oh boy.  this year’s trip was especially nice. as it was our last chance to see it with our buddy, d, and his family.

colin was clutching that poor air show booklet, holding on for dear life.

we got to hang in some helicopters

and shooting stuff.

we made our way to our seats and mom bought colin and i some sunglasses. yes we planned an all day outdoor adventure, with no sunglasses.  hey we have hats though.  colin enjoyed poking his belly button with them. don’t ask, we don’t understand either.

the only clouds we saw

do we look hot?

well explosions liven things up a bit.

this was mom’s favorite shot. as the blue angels started, they startled us from behind.  d got a great view.

we had a great time. the best part of the day was, just as we were leaving, the blue angels did one last sneak flyover. it was loud and low and mom nearly jumped out of her shoes.  she was holding colin’s hand (we were all 4 on a mission to find a toy plane we didn’t already own) and she looked down for fear he was frightened from the noise.  he looked back up at her with a face. pure. glee.  they screamed and laughed that they had been snuck up on, and carried on with their mission.

20 years

bear with me as i’ve gone back and forth whether or not to publish this.  but this blog is an attempt to capture the “highlight reel” of our family’s life our history, for my boys to look back and know who our family is.   but our life is more than highlights.  i’m afraid i’ll never be able to share these feeling with them face to face. one day they can read this and hopefully understand.
(me feeding my dad birthday cake)
my dad’s name is david raymond victoria jr. he is a great dad. certainly not perfect, but good in all the right ways.  so many things i inherited from him, dark hair, hazel eyes, left handedness… a love for math and science, music and art.  when i was a child, he loved model trains, and i spent so many weekends with him in his workshop.  i loved legos and he helped me build a city.  he taught me how to swing a bat, and how to multiply.  he could put me in hysterics (laughter) by just poking me with one finger.  he died june 15th 1992. 20 years ago. the day after the chicago bulls won their second championship. i remember because it was late the night before. i almost didn’t say “goodnight” and “i love you” to him. he was getting up the next day to travel to ontario canada; a guys trip to a remote location to fish, and that’s about it.
3 days later we got a visit from the police at our door.  he was missing.  the police told us that the men arrived safely at the destination the day before, and he and a friend got an itching to head out and fish for the afternoon. since the location was remote, local indians were used as guides to help navigate the waterways. none would be available until the next day, but they went out anyway.  as they were trolling the boat turned a corner and soon the rear of the boat where my dad’s friend sat with the motor were now in front, my dad now in back.  soon after they turned they met a waterfall, about 10′ high.  his friend along with the motor fell first and most likely my dad was thrown from the boat into rapids.  they found his body a week after the police first visited us.
the christmas after he died was hard.  our first gift my sister and i opened was from him. my mom didn’t even know about it, until it was delivered some time after his death, before the holidays.  we both got a set of gold plated ornaments, 12, celebrating “the 12 days of christmas”,  to decorate our own trees when we got married.  it was the best and the worst christmas i’d ever have. now there will never be a christmas in my home, where those ornaments won’t be up.
 it’s sad to think it’s been 20 years.  i was 15 when he died.  he’s been dead longer than i’ve known him alive.  i turned into a sentimental fool. i saved everything i could get my hands on.  i won’t let my mom sell his rolltop desk he used to sit at. i saved his address book he used for work, so i would never forget his handwriting. i still have his business cards.  i went to purdue university because he and my mom went and met there.  i struggled (and survived!) through 4 years of civil engineering because i knew it would make him proud.
 i cry when i hear the bob seger (“old time rock’n’roll) song because i know he loved it.  i always hear it, on the 241 tollroad, driving home from either work or my sister’s house. i’m always alone.  i like to think he does that just for me.
 i’m sad he didn’t walk me or my sister down the aisle when we got married, that he left a grieving wife alone to finish off the life they had started together.  that he wasn’t here to see my sons, or my nephews and niece being born.  my oldest son and nephew have “david” for his middle name. he would love my boys, all his grandchildren. they would adore him.   i’m sad i got robbed of so many moments that others got to share with their fathers. but now, so many years later, i can look and appreciate my life. be thankful to God. for the one door he closed, He has opened so many windows.
romans 8:38-39
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
 he gave me the most amazing mother and sister i needed to grieve with, and hopefully they could say the same for me.  whatever i’ve become because of losing him is worth it. barely.  just like so many who lose a parent, i’d give anything to have him back. i have dreams where he is still alive and i wake up and am crushed.
i can make this anniversary whatever i want it to be, and i choose joy.  tonight i get to dress up and celebrate my sister and her milestone 40th birthday.  i’d like to think my dad will be there too, ready to welcome her “over the hill”.

a race to the race

as we walked into the race, the woman at the ticket counter says “sir, are you sure? the activities are about to CLOSE!” to her he replied “we are just here to see the race, we know!”

once we got in, we found a seat and, (cue sigh of relief) our view…

it was great, but it could be better. the best thing about the grand prix is that we can move.  i am not one for standing still so, it works for me.

one of the favorites of the race, a bmw (like father like son). mom was proud of this shot. what you don’t see is her peering through a tiny hole in a construction fence to actually get a shot without fence in the way.

these ferrari’s are an easy spot. and you can hear them a mile away… by far the loudest cars when they’d downshift through a turn.

at one point mom turned to the side and she saw this

a funny side note about colin – this kid is a card.  just recently his preschool teachers told mom he had them in stitches at lunch.  poor kid goes right for his dessert every time and the teachers encouraged him to eat other things before digging in. realizing he might be testing their patience a little, he started in on an eyebrow trick, ala groucho marx.  he always knows how to lighten a mood.

this requires some serious concentration

someone likes taking dad’s hat

a short few hours later we were back and headed home. the parking garage attendant saw us and said “back so soon?”  until next year! next time we’ll stay longer…

one last thing… on our way home, we got the chance to see a pretty spectacular bridge…. not just any bridge, but the “7th street exit” that most around these parts know as “the only way to get to long beach from the north 405 freeway is CLOSED”.   for those haters, realize dad went to school for 4 years. he did his best to keep the old bridge open while they built the new one.

anyway i digress. THIS is HIS. it should read “kevin’s 7th street exit”.  this picture does it no justice. it’s a huge bridge. he designed it.  and yes, if you want to know, you CAN drive on it, and no it WON’T fall down… well done dad. A+