For my whole life, until the year my parents had to get their passports for a trip to Nigeria, we celebrated my dad’s birthday on April 1. He always hated having his birthday on “April Fool Day” and would tell us that he thought his birthday was on the 5th, not the 1st. I would ask how his birthday would have been recorded before he was born? Well the truth is this, his mother, Margaret, thought that having her children’s birthday on a holiday was more special so she put each of them on the nearest holiday. I have an uncle with a Christmas birthday and another uncle that was celebrated on July 4thyou get the point.
After a lot of searching in the Los Angeles, California records my dad’s birth papers were found and sure enough, he was right! There it was on paper, he was born on April 5th, 1918, and for us that is the day the mold of the humanly perfect man was broken, he owned it. My mother’s birthday was on March 26thso we had a two-week celebration for them from her special day and ending on his. As mother got older she wanted to forget the number of years and just have cake, however my dad was so proud of every year and he claimed them proudly. He wanted to be old for as long as I can remember, guess it was a cultural thing as he honored his elders very highly. Funny thing was that not long before he died he confided in my brother that he had found that his “golden years” weren’t as golden as he had hoped and wished he hadn’t been so anxious to get there.
I think we all tend to wish our years away, when we are in grade school we want to be in high school, when we are ten all we want is to be thirteen, then eighteen and of course the big twenty-one. We want to be married, have children, then we start kicking back when we hit thirty and the time seems to slip past us faster than we can keep up, then it comes time for us to get off the Ferris Wheel ride to make room for someone else to get on, and the day my dad died it actually happened, on the morning he made his exit from the ride of life a great-granddaughter was born, making May 8th, 2013 a special day for a young lady with beautiful red hair named Lillian.
My grandson and I are spending his birthday in the place he loved to come and relax, As I look at the crooked palm tree and the roaring ocean he loved I silently thank him for making it possible to have this place where we can come and when I walk in here I can see him as I last saw him in this place standing and looking out at the same scene I am enjoying as I write this and I cry because I miss him so…
So no words of wisdom, just giving thanks for the years I had my parents and the prayer support of my dad, who I am sure is standing before the Throne of God asking mercy for a daughter that is sometimes errant but is always trying, Happy 100th Birthday in heaven daddy, with all my heart…forever.