Happy Birthday

Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I’m sixty-four?

If things had gone the way I wish they had, my dad would have turned 64 today. His friends and family would have spent the day serenading him endlessly with that Beatles tune, perhaps sending him early valentines or bottles of wine to keep the theme going.

I sometimes try to imagine what my dad would look like these days. When I imagine him playing with A and K, it’s always the dad I knew when he was 56. It’s a little strange to think that he’ll always be that age to me, virtually frozen in time, while everyone else in my life continues to look older by the day.

I once forgot his birthday. I was in first year at Queen’s, and I just completely lost track of dates for a while. It wasn’t until a week later that my mom phoned to remind me (a call that I still think was about seven days overdue), and I will never forget how small and self-centered I felt. I know the stone tablets only had room for ten commandments, but I think “Thou shalt remember your parents’ birthdays and honour them with a card and a phone call” really should have made the cut.

Paul, at the tender age of 16, had an idyllic view of growing older. Gardening, renting a cottage on the Isle of Wight, balancing grandchildren on your knee – it all sounds great. I know all too well that reality is much more grim, but one can always hope.

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