My adorable dad turned 79 last weekend. *Happy (late) birthday, Dad!* The thing is? He looks, feels, and acts like he’s about 60. It seems like he’s stumbled upon the Fountain of Youth, and hasn’t aged a day since I left home 20-something years ago. (Actually I saw him age about ten or fifteen years the year my mom died. But the man is so full of life and resilient he looks younger now than he did then!)
Here are a few things that I think contribute to my dad’s Fountain of Youth:
Caring: One night when I had to work late, he took a stack of papers to grade and accompanied me to the magazine office, so I wouldn’t be there alone, or have to walk to my car by myself in the dark. A simple gesture that meant a lot to me, and I’ve never forgotten.
Cheerleading: From the time I was a baby, he would pick me up in
the air and ask, “Who’s the greatest?” and expect me to answer, “Baby
Jana!” It might be a little over the top, but I never doubted my dad’s
belief in me or my worth in his eyes.
Learning: My dad is a master teacher—always has been—and I think one of the things that makes him so amazing is his passion for learning. He is always reading, always seeking out new adventures and ideas.
Love: My mom died over 24 years ago…and just in the last couple of years my dad married Sharon, a wonderful addition to our family, with the same penchant for giggling. They are an adorable pair, and I think their love and enjoying life together keeps them young.
This week I’ve been thinking a lot about my grandparents and the incredible legacy and privilege of spending time with them—the laughter, the learning, the joy, the peace and quiet, the music, the FOOD. I’m so grateful my own children have similar story-book-worthy grandparents, and a similar legacy of love, gathering, work, excellence, laughter and service to shape their youth.Thanks, Dad. I love you! You continue to inspire me! xoxo
For more on the beauty of aging, and the joy of making the wiser generation a part of our lives, tune into The Living Room: Honoring Previous Generations. bit.ly/TLRshow34