A couple hours later, as we sat at lunch with my mother-in-law celebrating her eighty-fifth birthday at Swiss Chalet, after I had commented how she certainly didn't look eighty-five and she had responded how she certainly felt eighty-five, how using a walker to get around the nursing home and taking Tylenol 3 extra strength pills to calm the continual pain in her curving spine made her aging quite obvious to her, the best I could do was, "Yeah, but it sure beats the alternative." And she responded, "Yes, that's so true."
The day before, I smiled when a colleague spoke of someone in their mid-fifties drifting towards the sunset years and retirement, wondering if she recognized that I had recently celebrated my fifty-fifth birthday. And I thought of a friend whose father passed away before passing this milestone, a statistic of the same cancer I have apparently survived. And I thought too of three friends with whom I had sung in a gospel band, all of whom never made it past age fifty-five, two of whom were victims of colorectal cancer.
Whether it's drifting towards the sunset years and each new insult to the body or embracing the simple opportunities of time and energy still available, I guess it's inevitable that milestones and special occasions remind us of the passage of time.
Tomorrow is Father's Day. My sons are grown men now and both working all day. But they will join my wife and me in the evening for a BBQ, weather permitting, or a restaurant meal, weather demanding. I'll get a card and another reminder that time marches on, thankful that the march still includes me and so many that I love. I'll read Randy Pausch's book, The Last Lecture, about a father's tribute and legacy to his three young children with whom he almost certainly will not spend another Father's Day. I'll shed a tear or two, thankful for what I have, who makes my life so worth living, and for the hopes and dreams that sustain other fathers like Randy and me.