twenty.

September 22, 1962 my dad, Ronald J Basden was born.

September 22, 1994 I was born. Happy 32nd Birthday, Dad!

September 22, 1996 my dad toted a borrowed camcorder around our backyard, following a very curious and bossy new two year old around affectionately calling her “boo-boo kitty” and warning my older brother and cousins to “be gentle”.

September 22, 1999 my dad let me hold onto his hands at my skating rink birthday party. Again, his voice can be heard behind the camcorder in home movies encouraging me to “go baby, go” when he had let go of my hands and let me skate on my own. He acted interested in my Betty Spaghetti when I waved it in his face and only flinched a little when I talked about how “cute” one of the boys at my party was.

September 22, 2000 my dad endured the first of many birthday sleepovers. I choreographed a nice conga line to a Mary-Kate and Ashley song and insisted he get it on video. He said nothing but praises of my creativity when I put the stickers on my new Barbie airplane backwards. He was the voice behind the camcorder, capturing every second of the squealing girls from church and I decorating t-shirts for our Barbie dolls. (Happy 38th to you, Dad.)

September 22, 2001 began the era of the pool party. This was sort of impossible in late September, so we had them in early September/late August. But my dad was right there. Each one. It didn’t matter how tired he was or how (old) he was. He was the life of the party, doing cool tricks of my Aunt Becky’s diving board and throwing us across the pool (per our request).

September 22, 2004 our church was having a week of revival. I was so upset because my parents said that we were going that night, no questions asked. WHAT 10 YEAR OLD WANTS TO SPEND THEIR 10TH BIRTHDAY AT CHURCH REVIVAL?! (God is lol’ing right now I bet.) That night people were praying to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Ron Basden gave me no choice but to go to the altar that night. I remember him looking at me and asking “Liz, have you received the Holy Spirit?” and me trying my best to act like I didn’t hear him and was suddenly entirely too absorbed in picking at the green and yellow threads of the pews to possibly listen to his question. The next thing I knew, he gently had his hand on my back guiding me down to the altar where elders of the church were praying for those wanting to be filled with the Holy Spirit. (Dads just know, y’all.) That night on the green carpet steps of a not-yet-renovated Muskogee First Assembly of God I received the baptism of the Holy spirit and spoke in tongues for the first time. What a gift! I remember feeling hot tears from my dad’s face fall on my shoulders as he prayed for me in that altar. That is love. That is a father knowing what the Father wants for his children. (I want to revisit this story in a later post, hold me accountable to this.)

More September 22nds came and went. We celebrated different ways. We had fun times. I always insisted on having a separate cake. He spent his 47th birthday dinner listening to me go on and on about some boy that had made me a birthday present. (He paid closer attention to his steak.)

September 22, 2010 fell on a Wednesday. He went to work and I had school. We were to celebrate that Saturday in a very specific way. I had a parade on Saturday morning and then as soon as that was over, Dad and I were going to watch the OU football game, eat Runt’s ribs,  paint my room Barbie pink and put together my new full sized bed that I asked for for my Sweet 16. That was the most exciting part of my 16th birthday. That summer he had gone through Interferon treatments for the melanoma he had been diagnosed with in the spring. Plans for him to teach me how to drive were kind of out the window for the time being and I was ok with that. We spent the afternoon into the late evening putting together my bed and cheering on the Sooners as they played some nobody team that we knew they would beat anyway (they actually almost got beat, thanks Landry Jones). I insisted on being a part of the painting of my walls and the assembly of that bed. I knew I was miserably in the way most of the time, but I wanted to spend that time with my dad. That year we even shared the same cake.  I spent so much quality time with him that day, misreading instructions and dripping pink paint on the new hardwood floors when the Sooners would intercept the ball or Ryan Broyles would do basically anything.

I had no clue that that would be the last birthday that I would spend with my dad. Not even 7 months later my dad went to be with the Lord. I’m so thankful for such a simple birthday celebration. I’m so thankful for Sooner football. I’m so thankful for Runt’s ribs. I’m so thankful for that awful nauseating pink color that I could never ever paint over if I tried.

I am so thankful for the 16 birthdays God gave me with Ron Basden.

To my birthday buddy,

Thank you for your love and guiding hand for the 16 years you were here with me. Thank you for your countless prayers over my life. Thank you for being a Sooner fan and instilling the love of football in me. Most of all thank you for showing me what loving Jesus really looks like. It’s about to be my 4th birthday without you and so much has happened. I’m a junior psychology major with a sociology minor at Oral Roberts University (Who would’ve ever thought?!) I want to be a counselor and write books. I mostly get A’s. I’m also a feminist these days (but a Jesus feminist, you’d love it.) I’m sure that’s really not surprising as I have been doing things for myself and essentially smashing the patriarchy since I  proposed marriage to a boy when I was a toddler. I’m still a sooner fan. I come home and watch games with Mom on Saturdays. (I even caught her yelling “GO BABY GO BABY GO BABY GO” and “First downs and touch downs” once). I’m a chaplain too. It’s my 2nd year and I use so much of what you taught me about loving the Lord and loving others. You would love the friends I’ve made and those that I have maintained. I have been blessed. I like to imagine what you would say about me to the guys at work or what you would think of moving me in. I know you would watch chapel on TV. I just know it.  I know you would be so proud of what I’m doing.

Dad,  I’m turning 20. You would be turning 52 you old man!

Thank you for how present you were in my life for 16 years and not backing off when I probably would have liked you to. Thank you for graciously sharing 16 birthdays with me. Thank you for affirming me in every way possible. Thank you for being such a Godly father. Thank you, dad. Thank you so much.

I love you,

Liz

Cherish the small things. Watch good football. Eat good food. Celebrate birthdays with people that matter.

Here’s to many more September 22nds.

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