If I could choose the perfect gift for you,
One that when unwrapped, you would gasp and say
“Oh my Oh yes, it’s just what I’ve always wanted”
and you would hold it up to the light and turn it around
and when you looked up and away from this precious gift
your eyes would be misty and tear filled with joy!
I have spent the last few weeks pulling at my new grown beard
racking my brain attempting to think of a gift so perfect
it might come close to the many gifts you have given me.
I think back on those gifts to better form a picture of a fitting gift for you.
Your first gift and most enduring, 50 years and its still ticking is your love for me.
A love that let me fall back asleep after the Gorillas
paraded through my dreams in our tiny little house in Suffern, NY
A love that has seen me through those awkward teenage years,
Pops passing, the mania of the Sixty’s,
and my early failures in my attempts to grow up and be a mensch.
But in addition to this mothers love of warm kisses and hugs
and soft hands placing a bandage on my scraped knee
you have always had confidence in me and knew that the potential
my teachers always reminded me I wasn’t reaching would one day be fulfilled.
It might have stated as early as the time when I was just four years old and
Pop was working nights that you had me place a mouse trap in the bathroom.
But for these many years across the kitchen table late into the night
you spoke to me in such a way
that I finally understood the words your mother spoke to you.
“That the morning is always brighter than the night”
and one day I would wake up and be part of that light
instead of the boy who brought a rain cloud with him wherever he went.
The third gift that is so precious to me
was a gift that Pop and you planted firmly inside me was our love for humanity.
As Abou Ben Adam said
“Let it be written that I am one who loves his fellow man”
These three gifts;
your love, confidence and desire to make a difference in society
Each day, one person at a time
are the pillars on which I stand.
These are the gifts I have shared with my bride and with my sons.
My Gift to you
Although it may not be shiny or bright or when held in the air reflect the light
the only gift that I can think to offer is to acknowledge all that you have given me
and to let you know that I try in some small way
to give these gifts away each and every day.
So here is my present to you on your 80th birthday
My eternal love, heartfelt respect and deepest gratitude
for all of the treasures that you have given me.