Today is my dad’s 84th birthday. On the 16th, my mom turned 82.
I can almost remember the first time I realized I was my dad, or close enough to make a teenager sweat. At a young age I already had his mannerisms, speech patterns and sense of humor. His ability to tell the same story over and over again without noticing.
The first few times I knew I was becoming my father, I was very unhappy. What teenage boy wants to grow up and be his dad?
As I got older, I understood how much I wanted to be like my dad. Now, as I understand how finite my father’s life is, how happy I am that I am like him. I got the best parts of him.
A few months ago, my dad was diagnosed with acute leukemia, ten days earlier my mother under went surgery to remove a non-aggressive lymphoma. She has since recovered. He has had three rounds of chemotherapy. The chemo he is on has a 40% success rate. It is starting to look like he is in the 60%.
When you are young, you never think of your parents dying. As you get older, you start to realize it will happen some day. Some day has become very real. For me, I now understand, that as the youngest of four, I might be the last to go. My eldest sister is 15 years older them I am. The last few months have been very sobering. This is starting to feel like the balance for being the spoiled youngest to be the one that might have to see the rest pass before you.
What do I say to the man who has given me so very much? How do I even start to say goodbye while he is still here? I know I can never express it properly, I can never show enough gratitude.
I gave my dad a Superman themed birthday card last Saturday. I wrote in it that he has always been my hero.
Happy Birthday Dad.