Friday, October 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my daddy’s 79th birthday! I guess it’s no secret how much I love my parents and how much of a daddy’s girl I am. He is my knight in shining armor and I adore him.


This past weekend, I spent time with both my parents in Del Mar, California at the Hilton (we were there on “business”).


For five days I was their “little”girl again. We went out to breakfast, brunch, and dinner, took long walks on the beach, stayed up late to watch CNN and hear how much money we lost in the stock market as the Nasdaq and Dow plummeted, and took more walks while Dad shared with me what he was reading. He is a voracious reader and this trip was no exception. He had a stack of books on the desk (five books thick) with his yellow highlighter nearby.

Dad got up every morning at 5:00 a.m. to take his morning walk by the beach (I did not!). I slept in. When I heard the door close softly behind him, I knew he was exercising without his beloved dog (Brandy), and walking alone. Sigh! (She stayed in her own “Hilton” in Brentwood.)

Daddy walks fast (really fast)—not because he wants to—but because he has to. He’s a “walking” miracle! Five years ago he suffered a devastating heart attack, which left him with about half a heart that functions. So he eats well, exercises, and with my mom’s watchful eye, he is not only surviving but thriving.

Before I left on the plane to San Diego, I had a conversation with Dad on the phone. He said, “I’m the luckiest man in the world!”

Ahh…

Tears welled up in my eyes as he spoke and every time I recall those words, I choke up. And then a few more tears betray me. Our family has been through more than most families (that’s a subject of an entire book!), but we remain close—very close.

The older I get, the more I look up to my dad. It’s funny how that works and something we can’t teach our kids; it’s something they have to learn on their own.

My daddy is my best friend, confidant, spiritual adviser, and political analyst (smile!). He’s a great listener (something I’m trying hard to inherit). But when Daddy speaks…I listen!

Our last day in Del Mar was a special memory…

I wanted to take a picture of the sunset on the beach (something that had eluded me during our time there). I watched from the balcony of our hotel room, as the sun dipped between two stately palm trees. I yelled out, “Dad, the sun is setting!”

Daddy has a great sense of humor and he quipped back, “Yep, it does that every evening!”

But then I explained how one day in late October, I drove five hours to Cape May, NJ and five hours back, just to take a picture of a sunset (my version of walking five miles in the snow to school!).

“Oh, c’mon…get in the car; I’ll take you there!” Dad said.

It was music to my ears.

I grabbed by camera and we were off. Daddy at the wheel is my favorite place; he always gets me there. I jumped out of the car and ran about 100 feet until I found the perfect spot while Daddy stayed in the car so we wouldn’t get a ticket. I missed the sun setting on the water, but instead I got the beautiful light show that comes after the sun disappears (my favorite time!). I basked in the glow of the violets, pinks, and purples resting on the ocean. A warm feeling enveloped me.


As I walked back to the PT Cruiser, there was Daddy waiting for me. He smiled and I smiled back. I jumped in the car and said, “Thanks, Dad!” I settled back in my seat and once again let Daddy take the wheel.

Happy Birthday, Dad. I love you.



10 comments:

Susan Kelly Skitt said...

Connie girl, what a special time with your family, especially your dear dad. I love the pictures and he sounds like such a gem, "Com'n lets go get that picture!" Love it! Praise God for His precious gift of family!

And Happy Birthday Connie's Dad!!!

Connie Pombo said...

Thanks, Susan!

Yep, he's my daddy! I guess you understand why I NEED to be in California. It was a precious time and I almost forgot why we were there (oh yeah...the wedding!). Smile! It was gorgeous, of course, and spectacular in every detail. I wouldn't expect anything less from my brother and his beautiful wife. They thought of everything, including a gift basket in our room chock full of goodies from California!

Tomorrow I'll be in North East, MD giving my favorite retreat topic, so I better get some rest.

HUGS TO YOU SWEET SISTER!

Tracy Ruckman said...

What a wonderful story! I'm so happy for you both.

Happy Birthday, Connie's dad.

Susan Kelly Skitt said...

Hey girl, we'll have to catch up when you get back and after you rest :)

BTW - I love my Daddy too, that's one of the reasons why we're sticking near the east coast :)

Lonely said...

Connie,

Beautiful pictures, and a wonderful story about the relationship you have with "Your Daddy!" I am so happy for you, enjoy your time to the fullest because we never know when "The Trumpet" will sound to call us home, I know from experience, as I no longer have my best friend, confidant, and lover, as you know, "The Lord" has taken Carole to her "Eternal Reward!"

I do pray that you have had a safe trip to and from Maryland, with no trucks riding up the back of your car.

May God Bless You,

Terry

Connie Pombo said...

Tracy,

You would have had a great time taking pictures with me in California. My family is so patient with me when I have a camera in hand...they actually wait! My hubby does not! Smile.

HUGS!

Connie Pombo said...

Susan,

I'd love to get together when I return from my whirlwind October. I'm leaving for Ohio on Friday...back on Monday, then off again. I keep asking Mark what day it is?!?!

Umm...I wonder why?

HUGS!

Connie Pombo said...

Terry,

You've got that right...I'm waiting for that trumpet sound, but all I hear right now is my cat meowing!

She missed me while I was gone!

Blessings to you!

Greg C said...

What a wonderful post Connie. You made me think of my dad and wish he was still here. Alas I have only memories of him. You are a lucky girl.

Connie Pombo said...

Greg,

Memories warm the heart and I pray that you will be blessed today as you remember.

I'm trying to make as many wonderful memories as I can and I cherish each moment I am able to spend with my folks.

I am a lucky girl!