When my dad turned 90, he insisted he did not need or want any gifts. I was at a loss… I am a gift giver and the thought of nothing for Dad to unwrap on his big 9-0 seemed a bit heartless and sad.
After some thought I decided my gift for my dad would be to really tell him WHY I really loved him. So, I got out my 50-year-old typewriter and kicked it old school by typing out, on a beautiful piece of handmade paper, the 90 reasons why I loved him.
The challenge in this for me was not thinking up the 90 things, but typing it our accurately with no errors. Of course, old school typewriters has no spell check or quick delete - or re dos of any kind for that matter - as we are all so used to now on the computer.
I am proud to say it took only one or two tries to complete my very detailed reasons of why I loved this old man. The reasons were as complex and varied as one can imagine. I noted that at 90 he still looked so good in a pair of jeans and that he could dance to an entire album of Jack John without a pause. I wrote about how he took me all over the world as a child, on a shoestring. He valued hard work and demonstrated this every day of his life. He created adventures wherever he went. He loved to cook and serve cracked crab to anyone in the family who would eat it with him. He could make a fabulous bonfire with almost no kindling. He could choose a good wallpaper almost instantly. He was a talented swimmer and diver and soccer player. Dad was an amazing card player and had an excellent poker face. He was still upbeat and optimistic, even though he had known great loss - such as a beloved wife to cancer, an entire crew of men in the war, many friends and family members. But yet he remained a scallywag, full of fun and passion and life. I learned so much about living from Dad. He passed away at nearly 101 and almost up to the end he was extraordinarily independent. He was still a going concern.
Aside from my dad, I have of course known many fathers. Of course, my husband Don and I have 3 kids so I have witnessed all the ways that Don has impacted our kids' lives. I can imagine if Don is so blessed to reach 90, that any one of our kids could easily type out their 90 reasons why they love their dad… and so it goes on.
Our grandchildren in turn have their absolutely wonderful fathers who contribute so much to their children’s lives. It is a beautiful thing to witness the love and care and wisdom and fun that gets passed on down through the family tree.
I don’t think for a second that every case is as lucky as I feel our families are, but, on the whole, I have witnessed a whole pile of love that has gone on between fathers and children.
Today, more than ever, I can see the expectations for fathers are more complicated than in the old days. But I see the fathers in my life rising to the challenge and doing a beautiful, thoughtful, worthy job of it.
So, I want to do a big shout out to the fathers…bravo men, keep it coming. Your love and support to your children makes all the difference.