Celebrating my dad

I’m publishing my blog a day early this week because today’s my dad’s birthday. He’s been gone a long time, 31 years. Hard to believe. I never missed his birthday, even after I moved to Toronto.

From as far back as I can remember, my mother and I always drove ourselves into a frenzy trying to figure out what to get for him and how to celebrate. He was hard to buy for — not because he was picky — because he never wanted anything. He always said he had everything he needed. Same thing with parties. He liked to keep things low key. Except when the shoe was on the other foot and he was doing something for others — and then nothing was too good or too much trouble. He threw himself into the task with absolute zeal.

That was my dad. Kind, sensitive to the needs of others, caring and generous to a fault. He embodied all the values that are in such short Continue reading

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Let them eat cake and plenty of it …

Yesterday was my mom’s birthday. I wish the photo was that recent, but both she and her twin sister, with whom she is celebrating, have both passed.

In fact, it goes back quite a while, because my mom moved to Toronto in 2000, after my aunt died. And when this was taken, she still lived in Montreal.

Clearly, they were surprised and happy. They loved birthday parties, everyone’s parties, and particularly their own. And most of all, they loved birthday cake. So I fully expect they had plenty of cake yesterday. And, if my Continue reading

Let there be cake and lots of it …

Last Saturday was my mom’s birthday. Unfortunately she’s not around so I couldn’t celebrate with her.birthday cake She loved birthdays. Unlike most women who, once they’ve turned 30 or 35, don’t admit to how old they are, my mother told you before you asked.

She was proud of it and gloried in the fact that no one ever believed her because she looked, and acted, so much younger. She was a spunky one, full of piss and vinegar. She didn’t mince words, that one.

But she was also sentimental and her favourite cards, for all occasions, were the mushy ones. And she saved them all. After she died I think I found every birthday, Continue reading

What really matters …

Sometimes it feels like we spend so much time on the things that don’t birthdaymatter we lose sight of the things that do. I was reminded of what really counts last Sunday.

It was my birthday. I don’t make a big deal of it. I never did. My mother used to tell me that even as a child I Continue reading

Ninety-two years ago tomorrow …

Tomorrow’s my mother’s birthday.  She loved celebrating her birthday.  Even when she got older.  Especially when she got older.  She delighted in telling people chocolateher age; and loved their reactions.

Because no one ever believed it.

She looked considerably younger, but I think the main reason everyone stared at her in disbelief was her ‘spirit’, which was probably about thirty years younger than she was.  At least.  Her zest for life, her curiosity, her willingness to try new things, her open mind, her determination, her sense of humour, her giggle, the twinkle in her eye, her energy, her positive attitude all kept her young.

One of her greatest pleasures was eating chocolate.  You could see the look of rapture on her face the minute she bit into one.  And to her, it didn’t matter — it could have been a handful of chocolate chips or a candy Continue reading

There’s no escaping it, that’s for sure …

Well, we can escape it, but being dead doesn’t seem like a good alternative to me.  Wondering what the hell I’m talking about?  Come on, think about fathertimeit for a nano second:

Aging.

Getting older.

Watching the years go by.

Blowing out the candles.

I have written about this subject before, but there have been a trifecta of ‘events’ in my life recently that have compelled me to write about it again.  Sometimes the Universe sends you such strong Continue reading

Day 341. Superhero Teams

About a month ago I blogged about a school play I went to see, and how fabulous it was. My friend’s seven year old grand nephew, “G”, was in it. The kids were traceyjust TOO cute. But what had also struck me was how involved the mom’s were. My friend’s niece, for example, worked on the sets, costumes and make-up.

A hell of a lot of work.

She was tied up with it for months. With a full time job, another kid and a household to run, there’s no way she could have pulled it off without her husband’s cooperation and help.

Last weekend they did it again.

This time it was the baby of the family’s birthday. “E”, who is “G’s” younger brother. He turned four.

A few years ago, busy parents took the birthday boy or girl, and four or five of their friends, to Chuck E. Cheese or McDonald’s for all the junk food they could consume in a few hours.

Perfect for busy, working parents because it meant no fuss, no muss, no cooking or clean-up. Somebody else’s problem.

Continue reading

Day 325. Star Light …

When you were a kid did you always make a wish before you blew out the candles on your birthday cake?  Maybe I should re-phrase that?  Do you remember your wisheschildhood?  Oh, come on, don’t pout.  I’m only joking.  My own feels like it was a million years ago.

Do you remember what you wished for?

Did you wish for a baby sister or brother?  Or for the sibling you already had to magically disappear?  Did you wish for a particular toy you wanted really badly, but your parents said you couldn’t have?  Or a shiny, new bike?  Or a pair of figure skates?  Or for your mother to let you eat chocolate cake and french fries for breakfast?

And what about when you got older?

Were your wishes more grown-up versions of your childhood requests?  A baby of your own?  A shiny, new Continue reading

Day 289. Mixed Feelings

“Life at best is bittersweet” Jack Kirby

Normally I probably wouldn’t have used yesterday’s WordPress Daily Post as inspiration for a story. “Bittersweet Memories”. “You receive a gift that is bittersweet photosand makes you nostalgic. What is it?”

It is a bit too melancholy for me. But I was at the hospital volunteering when I read it; and it instantly conjured a memory for me.

When my mother moved to Toronto she knew no one, other than me and my closest friend. When I was growing up she was a hospital volunteer. It was always something she enjoyed doing, so she told me she planned to do it here, as well. It would not only give her something to do, she figured it would also be a good way to meet people. So she signed up for two days a week, Mondays and Tuesdays.

She moved here when she was seventy-five. By the time she turned eighty, she’d made quite a few good friends. I wanted to make her a party. Eighty is, after all, a milestone. She didn’t want a party. She said she’d prefer to

Continue reading

Day 228. What’s Next?

I ‘celebrated’ my birthday this week.  On Wednesday.  I waited until it was safely over to mention it.  Hate making a big deal of it.  And not being such a lover of either attention or sweets, birthday cakemy preference has always been to avoid the cake and candles bit.  Especially now.

With the number of candles I’d need, once they were lit, it would look like a minor forest fire.  And I don’t honestly know if I still have the lung capacity to blow them out.  At least all at once.  Call in the fire fighters!

Never mind.  It was grand.  And it turned out to be a two-day affair.  Some work in the morning, some pampering in the afternoon and dinner with a friend on Wednesday.  Work during the day on Thursday.  Dinner, drinks, jazz and blues on Thursday night.

Several blog posts ago, I wrote about Errol Fisher, a local singer, I’ve enjoyed for years and years.  Well, lo and Continue reading