*I wrote this 3 years ago for my Dad’s 70th birthday. Today he celebrates his 73rd birthday. I couldn’t have asked for a better Dad!*
My dad is turning 70 years old today.
Morris said “Grandpa Gus is so cool because he is the oldest person I know. 70 is so close to 100”. But, don’t let the age fool you. My dad still runs 3 miles a day, drinks at least a 6 pack of Bud Light every night, and swears like a gangsta rapper.
We’ll be celebrating in Memphis, TN in the homeland of his favorite singer, Elvis Presley. I probably won’t mention to my dad that Mariah Carey (my favorite singer) recently surpassed “The King” with more #1 singles.
As a child, there were many things my parents did that I didn’t understand or like. However, as a mom, I can now appreciate these actions and intend to pass them on in some form to my boys.
1. The value of a dollar– Growing up, I seriously thought we were poor. We weren’t, but I was never “given” anything that I wanted. When I wanted the cool pink Converse, I remember my dad taking me by the Footlocker for many weeks to admire them in the window. I went on a mission to earn money for a month doing extra chores around the house (I even mowed the lawn once, can you imagine?!). Sweet glory, the day I finally marched in that store and didn’t come out empty handed.
2. Working hard– It was understood in our house that once you turned 15 years old you would be getting a job to earn money to buy the little luxuries you desired. But also, I was taught the value of saving money as well. So when I got my very first paycheck from Benetton, my dad drove me straight to Trust Company Bank to open my first Savings account. Thanks to the work ethic my parents instilled in me, I had a steady job from the time I was 15 until I was 30 and had Morris.
3. The importance of education– Good grades were not rewarded in our house. They were expected. While all of my friends were given $5 per “A” earned on a report card, I got a big hug and a reward dinner at my favorite Chinese Restaurant. But when I graduated with honors from Clemson University, that was reward enough.
4. Unconditional love and positive reinforcement– I did some REALLY dumb things growing up. I know we all do, but man, I am too embarrassed to list them, but I will say no matter how much I ran the phone bill up, how many cavities I got from sneaking too much candy, or how many of my friends called collect from jail, I always knew my mom and dad loved, supported, and believed in me.
5. Committment to family- My dad was present at every basketball and football game I cheered, no matter how bad the team sucked or if I was on “cheer probation” or not. I could always count on seeing him in the stands even when there was only a handful of fans. I never knew how “important” my dad was at his job because when an event was important to me, he was never tardy or absent. He was always involved in PTA, carpools, after school events, and even shuttled me back and forth to work, the mall, and movies.
My dad is the most intelligent, charitable, honorable, and humble man I know. I must credit him for many of my good traits including my keen appreciation for a potty words, love of farting and burping in public, and the ability to penny pinch. But most of all, I’m a great mom to Morris and Bronson because of the fine example he set as a father.
Many wishes to my dad for a joyous 70th Birthday.
And in honor of my wonderful dad, I will put my vanity aside for your viewing pleasure to enjoy these less than flattering photos. But you can definitely feel the love!
Photos from the 70th Memphis celebration: