Happy Birthday, Daddy

Every year for my dad’s birthday I would take him out to eat for dinner at an Italian restaurant. He loved Italian food but my mom has never cared for it. For that reason he really didn’t get to have it that often, which made the outing extra special for him. It was a yearly tradition for us, and every year he looked forward to it. Each time we would try a different place and whenever a new restaurant would open in the area he’d get excited to try it. At Christmas just weeks before his death he was talking about a new restaurant that opened nearby and how much he wanted to try it that year for his birthday. Sadly, we never got the chance.

His favorite Italian meal was veal Parmesan, but sometimes he would get chicken Parmesan just to change things up a bit. I usually got some form of pasta, either lasagna or tortellini. I would never be able to finish my meal, so he would of course have to “sample” mine. After all, he couldn’t let it go to waste, could he? Then he would get a cup of coffee and we’d sit and chat until he finished drinking it. He never got dessert.

I miss those yearly outings with him. It was time where I’d get to have my dad all to myself, and we both always enjoyed it. Sure, we used to go other places together – flea markets, Home Depot, woodworking supply stores, even grocery stores sometimes – but this was different. It was special. It was his birthday, and the dinner was my gift to him. And I realize now it was also a gift to myself, because it gave me some wonderful memories of sharing dinner and conversation with my dad.

Happy Birthday, Daddy. I wish you were still here so we could go out to dinner again tonight. There are several new Italian restaurants in the area that I know you would have loved to try. Perhaps we’ll have some chicken Parmesan for dinner tonight in your memory.

I love you, Daddy.

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