Happy Birthday! I wanted to tell you how lucky I am to have you as my dad. I have vivid memories growing up on Rockwood in Wichita and know how amazing my life has been so far thanks to you and Mom. Becoming a father has me looking back on our relationship over the years and gives me clarity into a portion of your life. I still keep the picture of you and I boating on Lake George in the visor of my car, the one from like 1990. I put that in the visor of my truck in 1995 when I got my drivers license and it has been there ever since. It is the first thing I see every morning before driving to work.
I found all my letters from when you sent me and Lindsey to camp. I hated it there. Sounds like I got into a lot of fights…how were you so patient with me? You signed your letters “Bud the Dad.” That was awesome. You always believed in me. You were always there for me. You changed to help me change. That is amazing. That is family.
I have an amazing life and that is thanks to you and Mom. You supported Lindsey and I in everything we wanted to do and made sacrifices beyond what I can comprehend. You are my hero. You have rescued me from my own demons in the past, challenged me to be my best, allowed me to be who I am, and made me feel loved every single step of the way. You are an amazing man and I hope I can be as good a father to my son as you have been to me.
I love you. I love Mom. You are the best parents anyone could ever ask for and you are both my inspiration as I embark into fatherhood. Thank you for everything you have done for me, everything you still do for me, and everything I know you will do for your grandchildren. I am proud to be a Gates not because of our vast family history, but because I am YOUR son. Happy Birthday.
-Ryan The Dad