September 10th is the day I always think of my father. He was born on this date in 1903, and I came along approximately fifty-three and a half years later. Despite the age difference, we bonded over our love of sports (even if our teams were bitter rivals). I may not have been the son he probably wished would follow the two daughters he already had, but I got his brown eyes and that sealed the deal.
Although my father only had an eighth grade education, he was very smart. We would work the cross word puzzles together, and though not the NY Times, I was impressed at his knowledge and knack for words. I know he would have loved sudokus because he had an affinity for math and enjoyed solving those sorts of puzzles too.
Dad worked in the ribbon business for all of his adult life, but this was back in the days when ribbon was more silk and cloth than synthetics. He had a bow maker for the latter. I remember cranking out bow after bow for my mother’s Christmas designs that hung in our big bay window and to give to the teachers at school.
I wish I still had my dad in my life. Even after thirty-seven years of living without him, I still miss him a lot. I wish he could have been part of my world – husband, kids, family. Yet I also recognize that had my parents lived longer, I wouldn’t have left NY to start my own life story the way it’s turned out. From tragedy comes growth in ways we often can’t let ourselves imagine at the time. I didn’t want to leave NY and all my friends and my house and neighborhood and college after Dad died, but I had no choice. It was very hard, difficult and sad. And yet my life changed in dramatic fashion. I met the love of my life, had two children I adore and live in a state I would never trade for the old one.
It’s weird how life works out. I tip my hat to my dad today and wish him a happy 112th birthday, but I hope wherever he is, he’s young again and full of joy and happiness. I thank him for being my father; a most excellent, kind and loving man who gave me these brown eyes.
Love you Dad!