“It’s daddy’s birthday, oh yes it is, and it is today!”
This birthday chant has become a tradition in our family — mostly as a joke — after having seen “Festen”, the dark, dramatic play based on the Danish movie, on Broadway. For my 21st birthday, my parents and I got tickets to this star-filled show, featuring Ali MacGraw, Julianna Margulies and Elton from Clueless, among others. But, we had done no research as to what it was about (it was actually great, but, as I said, dark), and though it may not have been a “celebration” as it is named, since that day we have been taken by their Danish birthday song.
Actually, mostly my dad, who sings it every year, for each birthday. And other times, inexplicably, as well.
And, what do you know? Today it IS my dad’s birthday!
Oh yes it is, and it is today!
I am tempted to link back to old posts, referencing 7 years of dad-birthday-pieces-past.
But, since we are all in a new place in our lives, and to mark this new year, I am going to write about my dad and who he is today.
My dad is the patriarch of our family, but he is also the leader for so many; a mentor; a support; a guru; a pillar; an ideal; a friend.
As I have gotten older, I have come to appreciate my dad’s strength, resilience and incredibly broad shoulders more than ever. Literally, the man has the broadest shoulders (he actually BROKE them while being born, on his way out, as he was just too broad!), but figuratively, he shoulders more than I could ever imagine. He carries it all, for everyone.
My dad is an amazing combination of hard and soft
You do NOT to be on the wrong side of his index-finger-pointing and yet, he will cry, every time, at “Father of the Bride”, despite being able to quote much of the dialogue.
He is an incredible boss, having run our family, a law firm and more…
and he watches The Bachelor and The Bachelorette every week.
He flies across the world to see The Stones.
And he is beloved.
And women think he is handsome, and I don’t want to talk about it.
Actually, to be totally honest, he gets mistaken as my husband more often than I would like to mention.
This year is a particularly meaningful one in our relationship.
First, on a serious note, because I am now the age–32–when my father was diagnosed with cancer. A lump on his leg that was thought to be a cyst turned out to be a fibrosarcoma. He had two small daughters, a vague understanding of the word “malignant” and a 50% chance of survival. Today, he is celebrating his 57th birthday.
We have also worked so hard in order to improve our communication, constantly fine-tuning things so that we can have the most meaningful, enjoyable relationship possible.
One particular memory from this past year strikes me more than anything else, though there are more than I can count and he has been more amazing to me than I can describe.
One afternoon I was driving out to a meeting and I called him to check in. He was in the middle of a very hard work week and so I wanted to just say a quick, “Hi, I love you!”
When I did that, he did what he normally does, by asking, “What else?” He was expecting me to tell him an incredibly long, detailed story or to ask him for advice or to vent about an issue for the 11th time.
“No,” I said, casually. “That’s it. I just wanted to see how work is going.”
He didn’t really know what to say.
When I got out of my meeting, I had a missed call and some texts waiting for me.
You see, my dad was so touched that I had reached out to him, just to say hi, not with a problem or an ask, because he is so used to being that guy for so many people. He is the White Knight, and though he has embraced that role (and is excellent at it), he also carries so much. His well-being and stress level is often an afterthought.
It meant so much to him that I would think to care about his well being; his emotional state; his law case.
That changed my perspective so much. And since that winter day I have tried to make much more of an effort to have more of those little check-ins. Because he deserves it.
My dad is the best. He tells the dirtiest jokes, laughs until he cannot speak, is a gourmet chef, an amazing gardener, a pretty good hugger, though I see room for improvement, a steadfast supporter, an assertive cheerleader, a sound sage and his applause for those he loves will be louder than anyone else’s.
But, that’s the thing: we all applaud for you, too, dad. You make us feel so proud, so loved, and so taken care of. Most people do not have that. We do not take it for granted.
Thank you for being here for us through the hardest times, for making the happy times even more fun & sweet and for taking my calls, even during The Bachelorette. I think you finally realize that you CAN, in fact, pause live TV.
Also, THIS!!!!!! (And now that you’ve updated your app, you can watch BOTH videos!!!)
“It’s Daddy Robbie Zeydie’s birthday! Oh yes it is, and it is today!”
Today we celebrate you, just like we do every day.
You are extraordinary.
With more love than you can imagine
(and the image of Johnny snap-walking awkwardly up to Baby in the last scene),