On Father's Day 2013 I am blessed to celebrate with my father and with my two kids ages 22 and 17. Not too many guys are able to do that. It's really awesome!
My dad is 90 years old now. In many ways I am shocked (but thrilled) he is still with us. He's been retired since he was 65. Looking back, he was still very young between age 65 and 80. He was always working on projects around his home. Prior to moving into a condo with my mom 15 years ago, he maintained a garden. Actually, it was more like a small farm. He grew enough vegetables to open a farmer's market. It was just a hobby. But, it occupied much of his time. Clearly, he enjoyed it.
My dad is a Cuban immigrant. I attribute my work ethic to him. It's in my DNA from him. Work is all he did from age 10 until he retired at age 65. He had two careers. He was a house painter from his teenage years until his early 40s. Then, he realized the physical demands of painting were getting to be too much so he went to school at night for accounting. He only had a high school education, so without a college degree all he could do was land a job as a bookkeeper in a hotel. He traded his painting overalls for a shirt and tie. He opened and closed the books for a midsize hotel in Manhattan for about 20 years.
Eventually, he did what many other New Yorkers do. He and my mom sold their 30 year old house in Queens, N.Y. and retired to Florida. He was living the American retirement dream until he was 80 when he had a heart attack which required a triple bypass. About a year later he had a stroke. After a week in ICU where he clung to life by machines, followed by three months in assisted living where he was fed through a tube in his belly, he was discharged to go home. The ordeal really aged him. Prior to his heart attack and stroke he was 80 chronologically but he looked and behaved around 65. After recovering from his stroke, he was 80 going on 90.
Fast forward to today where we recently celebrated his actual 90th birthday We appreciate every day we have with him. His quality of life isn't so good. He can hardly walk. He needs an oxygen machine at his side. He barely weighs 120 pounds. His speech is low and slurred. But, I remind myself daily that I'm not God and it's not up to me how much longer we get to enjoy him. So, I celebrate Father's Day everyday!
It's a great pleasure to wish my dad a happy Father's Day in 2013!
Your son – Bernie
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