Our father, Phil, turned 80 years old over the weekend and we celebrated his birthday with a “roast” of sorts by our family and friends. Guest after guest came to the microphone and expressed the same sentiment. Our dad is “the best person they know”. No surprise to Shelly and I, we along with our siblings feel exactly the same way.
If you know our father, you know that he is a man of strong faith. Not because he boasts about it or walks around telling everyone how often he attends mass or what he does for his church. I’ve never seen him push his spiritual beliefs on others. He just quietly lives his life day to day as a Christian.
My mother calls him Saint Philip because in his daughter’s eyes he can do no wrong and that’s the truth. We’ve grown up watching our father express his faith everyday with kindness, humility, compassion, charity and selflessness towards others. He is our shining example, the role model of the people that we hope to be and we thank God for him everyday.
Long before Women’s Liberation our father was seriously involved in parenting and sharing household duties. We have six girls in our family, not a brother in site. He made our breakfast every morning, packed our lunches, drove us to school. He did all of the grocery shopping and managed to make it fun. Imagine over 40 years ago, a man shopping with young children riding in and hanging off a grocery cart. He took us all to church, by himself, on Sundays and afterward we happily rode bikes to the local bakery for donuts and pastries. Needless to say, we hold him personally responsible for handing down his “Sweet Tooth”!
Our father encouraged each of us to play sports including “Boys Club Football”. They allowed us to practice with the team, but we couldn’t play in the games. He also took us to various professional sporting events, the Senators and the Redskin games amongst our favorites. He once even took us all to a Father/Son Breakfast. If you could have seen the looks on the other father’s and son’s faces…priceless.
Always encouraging and forever the optimist, our father is the biggest fan of our all-natural bakery. Through the ups and downs of owning and operating a small business, he is always upbeats and ready to help us in any way possible, including doing mounds of dishes. You might have seen both of our parents in the bakery and/or on the streets peddling and sampling our wares. He’s proud of us and what we’ve managed to accomplish and it shows.
For his birthday, we BAKED all of our father’s favorites into a dessert bar…pies, cookies, caramel apples, liquor soaked cakes and cupcake bread pudding. It made for a sweet ending to an even sweeter celebration for a great man and an even greater Father. At the conclusion, our Dad took to the microphone and told everyone that he feels he “has always been lucky, blessed with family and friends”. He feels like he “has won the lottery everyday, that he’s the riches man on the planet”. We would have to differ on that one…we feel like we are the luckiest, the richest for having him as our Father. Happy Birthday Dad!