Dad’s Birthday

Well, he’s 95 so I expect some slowing of speech and forgetfulness and repeating things I’ve heard many, many times before is to be expected. He is actually amazing, living independently although in a retirement center near our adopted hometown of Daytona Beach. Up until a recent fall, he was still driving and he still hasn’t given up hope of regaining that privilege once the fractured hip heals.

Like so many fathers and sons, we had a complicated relationship over the years. The “greatest generation,” at least the men, just never quite learned how to show affection to their sons. And I’m not sure the World War II B-24 bomber pilot ever quite forgave his son for opposing, and opting out of, the Viet Nam war. (Although he categorizes all war as “stupid” these days!).

He’s become much more demonstrative in his old age. Hugs and even the occasional kiss are becoming easier for him and it’s good to hear “I love you” even though it took a lot of years to get there. He misses his beloved “Maggie” desperately and frequently says that no one should live to his ripe old age. “Twenty years to grow up and get educated; twenty years to climb to the top of your ability professionally; twenty years to enjoy it; twenty years of retirement. That should be it! Die at 80. Eighty-five tops!”

I tend to agree with him (after all, the Psalmist says “Three score years and ten; perhaps in strength even eighty”) but as I often remind him: It’s not up to us. Of course, I hope he won’t linger for too long once those amazing powers of determination and grit start to fade away. But, I must say, the last decade or so has brought some much-needed tenderness to a relationship which lacked that for too many years.

It was good for us to be here for his birthday. Don’t know how many more there’ll be (though I’m pretty sure there will be some). I’m thankful for all that he gave me. And, whether he fully appreciates it or not — he’s still giving.

One Response to “Dad’s Birthday”

  1. Cynthia Hallas Says:

    A lovely tribute to your dad!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: