Thank you Taylor Swift for the intro.

Today marks 22 years ago that someone crazy enough gave me the keys to the dad car and no instruction manual or directions.

22 years ago, I became a father.

Today marks 22 years since Austin Conrad introduced himself to the world. My world. It’s never been the same since.

That is a good thing.

22 years ago I wanted him to “greet the world with arms wide open.” Now, tonight, as I type this, I am thinking about the release. Don’t get me wrong, there have been many “releases” over the past 22 years. The first day of school, the first bike ride, the first time driving off on his own, the first year of college. Now, we look at the release into the future.

Our first born is now just months away from getting his college degree, his CPA and whatever God has for him next.

I guess I want to say thank you Austin. Thank you for the grace as I figured out how to be a dad. I’m not even sure I can say I was a good dad, but a dad.

Thank you for being there at my worst and celebrating my best days.

Thank you for all the times you said “I want to go with Dad” when I was off on another adventure.

Thank you for leading your sisters, showing the way, being the first.

Thank you for being a son I never have to worry about. Your judgement, your patience, your wisdom.

Thank you for loving your mom like I do. For putting her first. For caring for her.

22 years ago I had no clue what would happen when we placed you in that rocket seat and took you home. Now I reflect on just how grateful I am that I had these 22 years. I cannot wait to watch and celebrate all that God has for you next. Thank you for letting me tag along.

Happy Birthday Austin.

Love, Dad.