My Dad is 79 today. I have been teasing him by greeting him "Happy Birthday" almost ten times a day since last week. Its a game we play. He does the same when it my turn to gain a year. I have been hunting high and low for gifts, but I can't make up my mind. Finally, I decided on making him delectable goodies.
I love my Dad and I would do anything to make his life easier and his days happier. Yesterday I was in the kitchen slogging away trying to make treats for him. He loves sweets so I decided to make him a Refrigerator Lemon Cheesecake, and some fruit salad. Today, I am about to attempt to make him some mean pasta. No, there is no party and we are trying to keep it all under wraps. The food is just for the five of us... Dad, Mom, moi, Jyoti (our Pomeranian) and Lucky (our Labrador).
I am lucky enough to have a Dad who is as sweet, loving, firm and kind as he is. He may be a softy most times but he knows how to set me right when I do something "not too smart." He was the youngest of two brothers born to a farmer family in rural Punjab, India. He and his brother worked hard in the fields to help their father with all the agricultural work... and in those days, things were a lot more manual than they are now.
I remember Dad telling me stories about how they (he and his brother) would be awakened at dawn so they can get a few hours work done before school. After all the work in the fields, they would have to walk a couple of kilometers to school. Right after school ended for the day, they would have to walk back home and help out again in the fields or getting fodder for the animals.
The thing is Dad has been working hard all his life. He had migrated to the UK when he was in his 20s and was working 2 to 3 jobs just so he could send back money to his parents. After his brother died, he came to the Philippines to care for his brother's family because his brother's two kids were still very young. He then had to marry his brother's wife so he could take care of the family. Sometime after that, I came along.
It is amazing how he is still as active as he can possibly be. He retired from being a farmer in 2007 after knee replacement surgery. But he is still very much keen on keeping the vegetable garden in great shape and he takes good care of his beloved plants in our flower garden at home. He makes sure that we rarely need to buy vegetables or fruits.
He is not as quick as he used to be. And his joints ache once in a while as osteoporosis starts to take hold, but he is healthier than anyone else his age in our village. I am thankful that he has no major health problems.
Dad has taken good care of me all my life. He has always been there for me whenever I needed guidance. He has always been there to offer advice... and he has been there to offer some stern words when they were needed. I would not be the person I am today, if not for my dear Dad.
So now it is my turn to take care of him. Although he is still very active and he craves independence, he can no longer carry heavy stuff, nor run. His eyesight is not what it used to be and he can no longer drive his scooter at night. His hearing is also not too good and more often than not, I have to speak a little louder. I am happy to help out and take care of him and my Mom. After all, they have given so much of their lives taking care of me.
On his birthday, I wish him happiness, good health, lovely flowers in his garden, God's blessings and lots of love. I love you, Daddy. May your 79th birthday be the start of many, many more happy birthdays to come.