life lessons

My Pop

“It’s not how old you are.  It’s how you are old” – Jules RenardIMG_2954This is a little story about the handsome guy in the middle of the other two handsome guys (one being my husband Andy, and the other my bro-in-law Howard)…My father-in-law is celebrating a birthday tomorrow – his 97th trip around the sun.  Not bad…

My parents left too soon for me to learn some valuable lessons that I’ve been fortunate enough to learn from pop.  Truth be told, he’s on one coast, and I’m on the other – and yet, my thoughts of him travel far more reliably than any airline.  Here are a few…

Pop holds fireside chats that are attended by friends and those who are new to the community where he lives.  The questions he poses are always thoughtful, topical and open-ended.  In keeping wih his motto that ‘you’ve got to reach out, because no one is reaching in’, he extends himself to those around him as a matter of course.  Pop’s aim is to listen, to undertand the opinions and thoughts of others, not to grandstand.  And yet, when he received a standing ovation from his peers a couple of weeks ago, he was humbled and abashed.  ‘I haven’t done anything’, he insisted to me.  Of course he did – he was engaging people in ways that we often forget to do.

His days are fuller than mine, frankly – he golfs, plays bridge and rummikub (sp?), he dates, dances, and honors his faith.  He’s pretty proficient with FaceTime, but for the occasional lapse when I find mysef looking at his shirt.  His children adore him, his grandkids and great grandkids follow in kind.  Pop is the patriarch of this tribe far less because of age and far more because of the quality of his soul.  His enormous capacity to love.  The way he says ‘how are you my dear’ which melts me everytime.  The way he laughs.  The way he keeps teaching by example – rejecting self-absorption as a far more trivial exercise than showing concern for others.  His hugs.  He will always be my favorite father-in-law, as I am his favorite daughter-in-law – even if there were others.  I’m lucky, for I would never be able to handle the competition,

So, pop – this is for you…with all my love.  I’ve been able to enjoy being in your sphere for over thirty years and I’m counting on delighting in your orbit for atleast a hundred more – no pressure.  Happiest of happy birthdays…

30 thoughts on “My Pop”

  1. This is beautiful. My mom (93) is the glue of our family, and is always surprised that people want to get to know her and spend time with her, because she says she’s not that interesting! We cherish these people in our lives, indeed.

  2. What a beautiful tribute and the type of story that we can all use right now. I wish I could attend the fireside chats as I am sure that you can feel the love, comfort, and wisdom exuded by your father-in-law. Makes me miss my mom whom, up until she passed away at 94, was so active and taught me life lessons just about daily. Miss you bug. XOK.

    1. Thank you Bunny…I know how much you miss your mom, as I miss my parents daily…I am fortunate that my father-in-late is such a presence in my life…miss you..xom

  3. What a beautiful post, Mimi. Proof of his generosity of spirit and person that you take the time to honour him! Happy birthday, Pop!

  4. Thank you dear sister for putting into the most eloquent (as always) words that the rest of us can only come close to expressing..we are the luckiest of luckies to be able to share in pop’s orbit, his love, his caring and his gifts. There is no better role model and each day with him broadens my and our lives that much more!

    1. I think you’re selling your literary talents short…you are the sunshine of your dad’s life – of that there’s no question. And yes, we are all fortunate indeed…

  5. Mimi, I feel as though I know your father-in-law after this post. Such a lovely tribute to him and a life well-led. Love reading your posts!

  6. Oh, Mimi! What a perfectly exquisite tribute to a wonderful, modest man (& what a handsome trio here photographed!). I think your Pop probably has a more energetic life than I do too 😉. Well done him. I’ve a hunch that I may once have read an earlier tribute you penned to him some years ago? – I recognised the warmth of feeling evoked in me – and your renowned Mimi-shaped generosity of spirit and appreciation. Good health and continued joys for you all – en famille. And a special ‘many happy returns’ for you, Sir!

    1. Hi dear friend – yes, I’m sure I penned something a while back (and bravo for your incredible memory!!)…He is a humble man, who genuinely gives of himself and in doing so, changes the days of those around him. A wonderful man – and I’ll be sure to tell him of all these birthday wishes from equally wonderful friends…xx

  7. Have always loved this photo and have been the ‘extended beneficiary’ of Pop’s humor and wisdom through your generous shares. He is lucky to have such a loving family, and you all are clearly blessed to have him as well. Wishing him the happiest of birthdays! 💕

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