Another Year Older...
Today we celebrate my dad's birthday. Happy birthday dad! I love you, but I wish you were younger...
I say that out of pure selfishness. My father is a great grandfather. I remember the first time he held his grandson. How scared and cautious he was. How careful he was. And how much he loved holding him and napping with him. He'd come over to our house, sit on our love seat in the living room and take a nap as my son took a nap on him. I think we ALL wish that could still happen!
But that was nearly a dozen years ago. My father was younger and more active. They say getting older beats the alternative, but that doesn't make getting older easier. (I'm just beginning to find that out myself.) My father's been through a lot in the past few years health wise. Illness can take A LOT out of you! And it can age you, more so than physical years. As a result of infection and illness, my father is a little slower, a little unsteady, and doesn't hear as well as he used to. (Hopefully that will change after a mid-month visit to a hearing center.)
I wish we'd been able to have my son when both my parents were a little younger. I remember my dad playing with the kids on the block. He was VERY active, running around and picking up little ones. The Halloween ten years ago that my son is too young to remember, where he walked up and down our little block with a gorilla mask on handing out miniature pumpkins to the kids who were enthralled.
With all that being said, my dad is still a pretty active guy. One of the greatest pleasures my son gets in the summer months is his time at the shore. This will be his 6th year attending Marine Science Camp. (Something my eagle-eyed father spotted in a newspaper. BEST thing EVER.) My dad will drop him off in the morning and pick him up in the afternoon, but before he showers and changes into clean clothes, the two of them will catch crabs off the dock. The crabs will be collected in a large bucket and then set free for "crab races." (Where crabs skitter around the dock and head towards the "freedom" of the lagoon. The last crab is the "loser". Crabs can be pretty dumb and my father has been known to "help" some along so that they reach the water safely again.) If it weren't for my dad my son would not be so entranced with these creatures. I can remember when he was too scared to get close to the bucket. Now, having learned from my father, he confidently picks them up (wearing gloves) and easily identifies what sex they are. (You can tell by the shape on their underside.) My son has an appreciation for all things aquatic thanks to my dad and my mom.
I am truly grateful that my dad is around to be a grandfather. He, along with his cousin, are the longest living males in the family. They are the exception to the rule that no male in their bloodline live past 65. My paternal grandfather died before I was born, my uncle died before he was 50 and my brother died before he was 40. Thanks to modern medicine AND my mom's persistence, my dad has overcome the odds.
Happy birthday dad! Thank you for being a good father and an even better grandfather.