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There are some things in life I marvel at. One of them is witnessing my father turn 90 years old this December. Everyone in my family thought my father would be the first one of our parents to go, yet it happened the other way. My mother passed two years ago and my dad is going strong.

He smoked cigarettes for 30 plus years, had a portion of his lung removed for cancer 20 years ago, still loves his drinks, and still maintains that hot soup on a cold day is good for the spirit. He is quite a character and it has taken me along time to really open myself to some of his better qualities.

With his 90th birthday looming, my ex-wife came up with the idea of having his 90th birthday party at The Palm, which was his favorite restaurant for years. She had even negotiated to have his picture drawn on the wall so he could live in perpetuity. What a great idea!! I checked out the idea with him and he thought it was OK. I should have picked up on his resistance yet I was very much into really doing something special for him in a way that I wanted to do it. This was the perfect party.

Fast forward to last week when he informed us that he did not want to have his birthday party. I really did not want to give up the idea and I had a large non refundable deposit already given to The Palm. In the past I would have handled it differently and thought about me and what I wanted, yet this time I made a decision that this was his birthday and it’s his choice. I owned to Dad that I pushed this party through because I wanted to do something loving and special for him.

What I did not tell him is that part of me still attempts to get his approval after all these years. I wanted him to see me loving him so he would acknowledge me for all my hard work. He acknowledges my brothers, yet the illusive blessing to me seems to never come. I know in my heart he loves me and I also know that part of the reason he did not want the party is it is hard for him to let people love him…..he can love them, just not receive it….a trait I know all too well.

I thought the perfect party would finally get me the gift I was after, although it turns out that the birthday gift he gave me was giving me an opportunity to love myself and to see that the approval I am seeking is coming from me …. not him. Happy Birthday Dad.

ps …… when I told The Palm my story, they gave me back my deposit……karma.

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