Today is my dad's birthday....I'm not quite sure just how old he is...somewhere in his mid 80's....when we were growing up, we never knew how old our parents were....it was never considered polite to ask.....interestingly enough, I kinda have the same attitude with my own kids! Especially with the younger kids....you never want them to know just how old you are because then they just might dismiss you as being 'too old' to listen to! Anyways, I digress.....I am so glad that I still have both my parents with us....my dad goes througgh a lot each day just to make that possible. A number of years ago, my dad was diagnosed with diabetes...at first, it was just taking the pill everyday...but then it got much worse, decliningto the needle,,,,declining to the kidneys shutting down.....and down further to dialysis, which now he has to have three times a week. Their lives have changed, they used to do some travelling, but dialysis has put a stop to that. You can get dialysis done in other places but it can be very costly and my dad is just a little nervous at being out of his 'usual' centre. I don't blame him.
My dad was always a big man...when you're little everybody seems big......before I was even born (or thought of) my dad fell 30' from a bridge he was welding on and broke his back in three places....but it healed and he went on to putting in full days at the Coke Ovens and coming home covered in black. He changed jobs when I was older...a much cleaner job, working with hydraulic pumps, and from that job he retired. When I was growing up, there wasn't anything that I didn't think that my dad could do or fix. He always worked very hard, after a full day he'd come home and work outside cutting the lawns, rototilling the gardens...just working very hard til dark. My dad was good at math....unfortunately, I didn't inherit that from him and I can vividly remember sitting at the kitchen table, crying because I didn't understand and him patiently trying to show me one more time. My dad was a strong disciplinarian.......today, some people might even call it 'abusive'...we never did,..everyone 'got the belt', back then......you knew not to do it again, that's for sure....but I also remember the dad that one summer divided up his one week of holidays to stretch to two weeks so that they could visit me at Sick Childrens Hospital every afternoon after he had worked all morning.
Now, I look at my dad....he's quick to give a smile and a hug...he loves to see his great grandchildren...his whole face lights up......he's quick to say I love you......he walks with the help of a cane and sits a lot rather than stand. He's different than the dad that I grew up with...he doesn't have to be the strong one anymore...I think he can finally let his inner self show....the gentle side...the man that one day when we were little that came home from work, opened his jacket a little and let a little furry grey head pop out...a kitten...we were so excited........
my dad......I'm glad he's still here.......Happy Birthday Dad!