Level 72

Today my dad turns 72 years old. That number seems unreal to me. Not because it’s a high number, or because the years have flown by, but because my dad doesn’t look or act like he’s 72. When I was little I thought 72 was really old and you were most likely bedridden, in a wheelchair or having to use some sort of walking aid. But I was little so I could be off by a little bit. Regardless, that’s not my dad, he’s always working. He’s been retired for years now, but he refuses to stop and kick his feet up for too long. Maybe that’s the old generation that I’m seeing. The generation of hard work and keep pushing no matter what. Sometimes I look at him and I’m just amazed and how strong he looks and I pray that I took can look and feel that good at 72. But that’s really just a very small piece of it.

I could probably write on and on about my dad and the amazing man and father that he is, but I frankly wouldn’t have the time. There’s so much I could say about him, but if I could sum him up in three words they would be “Loving”, “Worker” and “Wise”. Those are the three things I think of most when I think about my father.

He’s always there when I’ve needed words of wisdom or guidance. Being someone who grew up with little and has made such significant advancement in his education, career and overall life, I really do make it a point to listen to his words. He’s a part of that generation that’s not very tech savvy right now, but as I kid I remember thinking, “There’s nothing my dad can’t fix“. I’m just glad I can help him out now when he’s trying to figure out the tech stuff.

I don’t know many people that are hard working like my old man. It’s like he never stops. There are times when I get tired just watching him go. But it’s like he doesn’t know how to stop. He’s like a machine. Maybe it’s because he’s had to work so hard throughout his life, he’s really never known much else. My father came over from Mexico with his uncle and I remember him telling me stories of working fields when he first came. To think that he retired being the safety manager of a global company, well I think that speaks for itself.

But the one thing that I admire most about my father, is his love. I don’t think I ever went one day without feeling his love. He loved me enough to discipline me, to get me on that straight path. And even though at that time I hated it and didn’t understand why my friends didn’t have it better because they did what they wanted, when they wanted, I do now. And I thank God every day that he was on top of that. He’s done so much for his families over all of these years, but for some reason the one thing that sticks out to me the most was his career change. You see when I was little I didn’t get to see my dad much. He worked at Ben Taub Hospital and usually worked nights, which meant he slept during the days. There were times we couldn’t go outside and play because we couldn’t make noise for fear of waking him up. He loved his job. It was exciting for him and he’s always loved the medical industry/field. He still talks about it from time to time and I can tell that even now it still excites him. But there was one problem, he wasn’t seeing his family and they weren’t seeing him. I can imagine that it must be a difficult decision to make a change doing something you enjoy. But I can also see that if that choice was because you weren’t seeing the people you loved most, what’s the point. I don’t know where my dad would be right now in the medical field had he stayed there, I wonder that a lot myself today. What I do know is I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be where I am right now had I had to miss out on the time that he gave to his children and even now as adults with our own families. I’ll never forget that. Ever.

So today my old man levels up to 72. I say level up because for one, I’m a gamer, and two because though his body has aged, he’s wiser and more awesome as the years have gone. I admire him so much. I think it’s pretty safe to say that all his kids do and so do many around him. I pray that one day my children will be able to say the same about me.

I love you, dad. Happy Birthday.

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