It’s always been a long tradition in my family to make a big deal out of all celebrations be it birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and of course, important Hallmark holidays. Of all the celebrations, however, birthdays have always been our big thing, probably because my sister and I shared the same birthday (seven years apart!) and there was always double the celebration in our house.
In my quest to share this tradition with my son, Jack, I often tell him the birthdays of all our close family and friends so we can help them celebrate, even if we’re far away. Because Jack has this ridiculous memory and obsession with all things numbers you can literally ask him when one of these people’s birthday is and most times he will be able to tell you. This really freaks people out.
So I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised this morning when after asking me if today was May 1 Jack then asked, “Is today Papa’s birthday and is he 78?” But since my father (Papa) passed away in 2010 (at 76), a month after Jack turned 3 years old, you can imagine my shock. Again, I realize his memory is sick and his fascination with numbers is over the top, but part of me hoped his question was because of our little tradition. He went on to ask if Papa was celebrating his birthday in heaven and I told him he was and that he was probably eating a big piece of chocolate birthday cake!
I’ve always been sad at the thought that my father will probably be a distant memory to Jack as the years go by and I’m always looking for ways to keep him front and center. I’ll forever be grateful that he lived long enough to know Jack (since it took me so long to get with the program and actually get married and have a child!).
I wondered how I would get through today and all the birthdays to come that I won’t be able to call my dad and talk to him, and now I know. I’ll just carry on our celebration tradition by marking the occasion with Jack. I’m so thankful for Jack’s big memory, although I’ll have to be super cautious with what I tell him moving forward!
Happy Birthday, Daddy! I love and miss you everyday! And I hope you’re eating that big piece of chocolate cake!