Kim Hudson: Learning great lessons from a great dad

Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to meet and write about some amazing people. This week is no exception. He won’t want me to write about him – but children don’t always listen to what their parents want, even when they are adults themselves.

This month someone very special in my life celebrates a birthday. A pretty significant birthday I might add.

My father, Ernie Watson, is turning 80. Those who know him won’t believe he is that old. He doesn’t look it and certainly doesn’t act it either.

Birthdays lose their luster after the milestone years – 16, 18, 21 – until you reach the seemingly unreachable 30, 40, and 50. It’s easy to lose track after that (or maybe we just hope to).

But then something happens after 75. We start celebrating all over again like the early years. Maybe it’s the stark realization – the kind of truth that hits you right between the eyes — that one really isn’t getting any younger and we should just be grateful for another day — kind of celebration.

I think that’s how my father feels; grateful. Grateful for a marriage that has lasted over 50 years. Grateful for his health and his family. Grateful for another day of waking up and enjoying life.

We sometimes overlook the generation that came before us. As they get older our society tends to lose patience with them. Children find themselves in reverse roles with their parents – becoming the caregiver instead of the receiver. We tend to underestimate their knowledge and experience.

Every generation does this. Don’t you see your own children discounting your viability? We do it too.

But with age comes wisdom, right? As I think about my dad I realize how much he has taught me. In his quiet, humble way he has shown me the importance of family.

He has taught me the value of giving to others and of always, always being kind. He has shown me the significance of working hard and not needing recognition.  And he has modeled so wonderfully the joy that can be felt when one is content with one’s life.

As my parents grow older I find I have more of an appreciation for the generations before me. I love to hear their stories and listen to their memories.

At 80, my father spends his time in his yard, volunteering at church, drinking coffee around town and visiting with friends. He has a smile for everyone he meets and a heart bigger than most.

Happy birthday Dad – 80 sure looks good on you.

Contact Kim Hudson at tkhudson@comcast.net.

 

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