Mondays with Mom: Dad’s 90th

This weekend, my siblings came to the house and we celebrated Dad’s 90th birthday.

It’s hard for me to believe this man who still works out every day and is stronger than most men half his age has really reached 90. Mom had her 90th birthday last year, and I’m not sure she ever realized it was her birthday, much less that she was ninety. Dad’s celebration was very different.

My brother John came in on Thursday so he could get up early to go fishing with Dad. They drove to Lake Richard Russell and enjoyed a beautiful day trolling and casting. I’m not sure they caught a thing, but it didn’t matter one bit. (I stand corrected: Dad caught one bass.) The weather cooperated and it was perfect enough to picnic in the boat in the middle of the lake.

My sister and her husband came in Friday afternoon and my oldest brother and his wife on Saturday. We all enjoyed soup, salad, and bread, and we teased each other quite a bit. Dad enjoyed having us here, but I think he was distracted by caring for Mom. She was able to join us for lunch on the back porch although she didn’t eat much. I tried to turn Dad’s focus to his kids, but I was mostly unsuccessful.

Carla had picked up a beautiful birthday cake from Publix on her way from the airport. We all enjoyed that and Dad was choked up by his sweet birthday cards. (My siblings are sappy about that kind of thing.) We did get some sweet pictures of Mom and Dad – that was my favorite part.

I was able to get Dad talking today about his early life: he was born to a 16 year old girl in the country outside Wendell in the sandhills of North Carolina. Her husband was nine years older. They lived in a tiny white framed house and Dad’s not sure there was indoor plumbing. They moved to Zebulon, Wakefield, and then back to Zebulon. When he was 3 1/2, Susanne was born; Sandra was born when Dad was eight.

Dad has seen so many changes in technology and lifestyle in his 90 years. I’ve been amazed and proud of his (reluctant) education in computers and smart phones. Although he still prefers to type on his 1980s word processor, he’s learned to go online and read stories of interest or shop. I get tickled at him; he’ll often get my husband to buy something he’s seen and researched online. As far as I know, Dad hasn’t gone so far as to actually do the ordering himself. Who knows what year 91 may have in store for him?

I’ve certainly spent more time with Dad in the last 10 years than in my previous lifetime. It’s been a joy and challenge to spend so much time together. The best part is watching him love on his “sugarfoot” – Mom. I hope they have many more precious, loving moments together.

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