This coming weekend, a very dear special man is turning ninety years old. Many people will have a birthday this weekend, so why is this 90 year-old’s birthday worth mentioning in my blog? You may be asking, who is this special man ?
This special man is my mom’s brother, Uncle Matt (aka Uncle Floor Mat). Uncle Floor Mat is my special nickname for him. Now don’t be appalled. There was and still is no disrespect intended in this title. The name “Uncle Floor Mat” started out when I was only around 2 and a half years old; totally appropriate for a toddler. I really think it’s a small town Ukrainian thing that was done as well;not really sure. It was however a playful greeting that he actually encouraged. Uncle had a nickname for me too. Ready for this? It was Petroonka. In fact it still is whenever we get talking on the telephone or have family visits.
Unfortunately distance keeps us apart this upcoming weekend and I will be unable to share in his special birthday celebration. In lieu of a visit however, I included a letter with my birthday greeting card that I sent off in the mail. It was my cousin’s wife who prompted me to write a note about what Uncle Matt has meant to me all of these years. She is collecting and wrapping up “love” letters from his family and friends. In fact, she even included some sentence starters to help get the old grey cells jelling!
- You are special to me because…
- I value ______ about you because…
- I really love _____ about visiting you place because…
- Over the years you have taught me …
- I love _____ about you because…
Even before I had these great sentence starters, I had decided that a Thank You letter was needed.
I would like to share this letter and my thoughts about my uncle with you. Why you might ask would I want to share something so personal? Well, just maybe when you read my letter, you will be inspired to write to someone who is special to you too. Perhaps you will thank them for being a special part of your life. Celebrate the people you love now! I love my uncle and want him to know it!
Happy Birthday Uncle Matt!
Dear Uncle Matt,
I hope you enjoy your birthday with your family and friends. I am glad that you and I were able to celebrate “you” this past Summer when I was at the Ukrainian Festival. It’s very good that you can still keep up with me when we do vodka shots together! Ha, ha.
Not only do I want to say Happy Birthday to you but I also want to say Thank you to you for being a kind and caring uncle to me all of these years. When we were growing up, my mom used to say that we could always depend on you. Whenever we needed any help, you were someone we could count on.
Do you remember when you used your big caterpillar to plow out our driveway and you made us kids a huge mountain of snow to play on? We had so much fun that Winter.
Do you remember when we were at a family wedding and you said that I needed to learn how to dance a really fast polka? You taught me well and yes, I can still keep up with you…but just barely.
Do you remember the time when I was only 3 years old and you held my hand at my sister Emily’s funeral? You told me not to cry, not to fuss but to be strong because my mom and dad were very sad.
Do you remember when my mom passed away suddenly in 1979 and once again, you told me that I needed to be strong for my dad and to take care of him?
Maybe it has been those words “be strong” and “take care of” that I heard from you that have stayed with me all of these years. You see, I am a strong one. I do stand up for injustices and do take care of others. I have taken care of myself too. I completed university, had a successful career and raised a great family. I know that a lot of this encouragement and influence has not only come from my own parents, but also from you. Thank you.
You and I have shared a lot of laughs and good times. I wish you happiness and good health so that we can continue to share many more fun times. Before we know it Uncle, we will be celebrating your 100th Birthday!
So on this birthday, please know that you are loved and you are my very special uncle. In fact, you may be my favourite…but just don’t tell my other uncles.
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