Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy 80th Dad!

I didn't realize I had "older" parents until I reached high school and learned the ages of my friend's parents. My parents looked so young. Today many women are having their first child after the age my mom had me. Times have changed.

Growing up with parents from a very different culture was frustrating. Now that I am older I understand where they were coming from. My parents were concerned abourt raising their kids in America. I think moving here was really difficult for my dad. America in the early 60s was not the most friendly place for a black man, especially one who didn't know he wasn't supposed to have pride or dignity. Like most people of that generation from the Caribbean, my parents were strict as hell, did not play when it came to our education, and your family was more important that anything. Of course when I was a teenager the last thing I wanted to do was hang out with my family.

I can't believe he's 80. I'm not going to lie, it freaks me out. He doesn't look it but every time I talk to my parents it seems they are going to another funeral. My mom is 73 and she keeps talking about when she is gone. She wishes I could just get married, or at least have a great boyfriend before she dies. She worries about me being alone.

It is said that women look for men that are either very similar to their fathers or the complete opposite depending on the relationship. I don't know it that is true. Maybe it is and that is why I'm attracted to smart, funny, kind, confident, tall, stubborn, handsome men who can wear the hell out of a suit. ha.

Me and my dad.
I wish my parents had saved that silver Christmans tree. They are so hip now. Once we moved to the 'burbs we started to get real trees.


Jess said...

What a great picture. Happy birthday wishes to your dad, and brother and sister!

April said...

Sadly, there are so few men like your dad anymore! At least you haven't settled for any less. Hope your dad has a great bday!

Confessions of Cleopantha said...

Happy birthday to your father. That is such a beautiful photo. Your father looks like a wonderfully presented man, here here to self respect and dignity:)

Texas Espresso said...

Happy Birthday to your dad! I understand what it's like with older parents. My dad will turn 77 this year, my mom 74 and just like yours keeps talking about when she's gone. It totally freaks me out and have a hard time even thinking about that without getting upset.

You, my friend are not alone in this struggle.

However, we have them now so I just try to enjoy them while I can =)

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Happy B'day to your Dad! And what a truly wonderful picture. My mom just turned 84 this week, and my dad would have been 96 this September if he'd lived, so I can totally relate to the "older parents" thing. My Mom and Dad were 36 and 47, respectively, when I was born.

aims said...

Both my parents are gone and I often feel like an orphan. So do please enjoy them as much as you can while you have them..

Your Dad looks just like how you describe him....and good for you for holding out for the best..I didn't find my man until I was in my 40's and I'm so glad I waited!

Happy Birthday to your Dad...I'm sure he's incredibly proud of you!

gibber said...

Jess, thanks for the birthday wishes! And sis, we still rocked that silver tree in the burbs. I remember it for 2 xmas, then we moved to the fake green tree. It wasn't until I was in high school and we cut down the xmas tree in front of the house that we went real :) I remember because i begged for years to get a real tree like all my friends :)

That picture is great. I don't really have many pictures of me when I was young with Dad. I have one when I was a baby and one from like age 5 and that's it. Maybe they have a bunch hidden in the house somewhere.

I wonder what they're doing with themselves today! I wish I was with them. I miss them muchly.

Delina said...

Sweet post and great photo. Happy birthday to your Dad!

glamah16 said...

Birthday to your father. What a cute picture. Your a Daddys girl for sure!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

jess - thanks!

april - I know! What the heck is going on?

confessions - grazie!

texas espresso - I try to tell myself all the time that they are in pretty good health and if they aren't worried I shouldn't be. It's hard though.

jen - Isn't it funny how things change in a generation? Several of my friends didn't have their first baby until their mid-late 30s.

aims - thanks for stopping by and the kinds words. Sorry to hear about your parents.

I have a few friends who also met their men "later in life". If they had met these guys at 25 instead of 35 they might not be together now.

I know there is all this buzz about "settling". Shoot, I wish I could settle...there is nothing going on in that part of my life. ha. I am optimistic about the future. A change in scenery will be a good thing.

gibber - At first I didn't remember that tree at all but now I do. It wasn't in the living room but in the den. I wonder what they did with it.

I miss them too :)

delina - thank you!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

glamah16 - ha. I never thought I was (esp. in high school!) but you might be correct.

Claudia said...

Happy Birthday to your dad!! and that is a great picture...

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to your dad. What a great photo. I, too, am a daddy's girl, and I thank God every day for his presence here on earth. He's in his mid 60s.

My father, since my mother passed 5 years ago, also talks like your mother about me finding someone before he passes because he's worried about me being alone. I'm an only child. I guess all parents are the same.


Kataroma said...

Such a nice post. I know what you mean about dads. In some ways my H is just like my dad (a really fun person, never acts like a "grown up", non-pompous, working class and from a small northern European village) but in some ways he's the exact opposite (non judgmental about others, does tons of housework).

Anyway it occurs to me that we're doing the same thing to our daughter. When she's born I'll be 36 and husband will have just turned 46. I guess in Italy that's not so unusual but I feel bad that we may not be around for her as long as other parents are. But I didn't meet my husband til I was 32 so I'm doing my best here.

Kathy said...

What a beautiful picture! Your father is so handsome, and I love how you are staring up at him so lovingly.

Happy Belated Birthday to your dad!

I too understand about having "older" mom was 29 and my dad 31 when they had me - they were the oldest parents among all of my friends! And unless I get pregnant'll be at least 37 when I have my first baby. How times have changed!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

claudia - thank you.

ms. atl - I know our parents mean well but sometimes the last thing I want to hear is "why aren't you married yet?" LOL.

kataroma - Don't feel bad. 36 today versus 36 in the 70s or 60s is very different. We are living longer. If you move back to New York I'm sure most of your daughter's peers will have parents in the same age range.

I happened to catch part of "The Girls Next Door" the show about Hugh Hefner and his three live in girlfriends at the gym. Hef is 80. The man can barely walk. Maybe it's because he's standing next a 20 something woman but he seems much older than my dad who is the same age. Every person ages differently.

kathy - thank you!

I have only one friend who had a baby before the age of 30. Isn't that a trip? In the volunteer group I belonged to, one of the women had a baby at 25, her husband was 30 something. She seemed so young to be a mom. I had to remind myself that outside of L.A., San Fran and New York, to have your first child in your mid 20s is the norm.

Eryn said...

happy bday to your father!

i love your comment of "wear the hell out of a suit" my fiance says the same thing about himself. HAHA

Linda said...

Sweet, sweet picture. The way you're looking at your dad is priceless.

I lost my father a few years ago but the way you describe your dad reminds me of mine.
Don't worry, parents will always worry about their kids, no matter how old they are or whether they're married or not.

wordtryst said...

This is so, so beautiful. I remember being freaked out when my parents turned forty. I was in high school and forty seemed so ancient I was afraid I would lose them soon. Many years have passed, they're still here, and I'm just thankful they're around, although I don't have a great relationship with my dad like you seem to have with yours.

That guy of yours has to come good, as we say. He has a tough act to follow.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

eryn - that is funny. You are a lucky woman.

linda - sorry to hear about your dad.

wordtryst - I know what you mean. In high school 40 seemed like how 70 does now. ha