Happy Father's Day to my amazing dad!

By: Carol Feineman, Editor
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I love talking multiple times daily to family members. That especially includes my 88-year-old father and my 85-year-old mother. So I call them at least every day and night to see how they're doing. However, my daily calls annoy my parents. They think I'm checking up on them. Upon hearing my voice, their perhaps sarcastic responses are that they're not in the hospital and that they're fully capable of going to the store, to their bridge games or to their clubs without my help. I love their reply. That's because I know how lucky I am that my parents still act like they're half their age. Plus they have more energy than many individuals I know who are in their 20s. Although retired, my dad is still as busy as when I was growing up and he held multiple engineering jobs. It would still be foreign today for my father to have a leisurely lifestyle. I can’t picture him, for example, cruising on the Mexican Riviera or calling a handyman when house repairs are needed. My father is much happier staying home so he can tutor high school and college students in remedial math to literature, and going to the hardware store for do-it-yourself repair advice. And my mother is just as active, keeping track of financial matters for the extended family; cooking full-course, healthy meals to my father (and to anyone dropping by for an impromptu visit), volunteering weekly at bridge club games and organizing synagogue activities. While I do understand how, in their eyes, my calls equate to checking up on them, that's not the case. I honestly want to hang out with my parents every chance I can, albeit through a quick phone call because I'm in another city. If I can't gather around the kitchen table like I did growing up and having my parents ask about my day, this is the next best option. With that said, my parents are also mistaken in thinking that I view them as "invalids," as my parents often scold me when I "check up," i.e. phone them. The reason I call is because I really miss stopping by their house every day as I did when I lived a mile from them five years ago. Besides being the most accommodating and caring parents I could ever imagine, my parents are also fun and soothing to be around. I recently found a friendship ring my father gave my mother when she was 18. I now proudly wear the ring as a reminder of my parents' strong love for each other (they celebrated their 65th year of marriage in December) and for their children. While I'm sorry we no longer live in the same city, I also appreciate that they very much value their independence. I'm grateful that my parents are active every day. They fully enjoy life. And they make everyone they meet feel better. My boyfriend jokingly asked my father Saturday at a restaurant what he wanted be when he gets older. My father said, "Old." The waitress cleaning the next table started laughing and told us that was a wonderful attitude to have. I'm still trying to emulate my parents by being a positive influence to others 24/7. While I don't yet measure up to my parents, I am hopeful as I have great role models. Happy Father’s Day.