By Al Beeber on May 8, 2021.
It’s that time of year to celebrate another trip around the sun. It’s my birthday today, a milestone I haven’t celebrated for several years.
I haven’t paid much attention to this day since my son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes on my birthday when he was in Grade 9. I spent that night and every night that week at his bedside in the intensive care unit of the hospital as his blood sugar levels were gradually brought under control.
When he was young, I was a pretty crappy dad; I thought that the best thing I could do was work hard and provide for him, setting what I thought was a good example.
The truth is, though, I missed much of his childhood because I was so exhausted I had no energy to play with him or teach him the things dads need to teach their kids.
In that way, I was much like my own father, who in turn didn’t have a strong male influence in his life and as a result, didn’t learn anything about being a father as he grew up. Ditto with his own father, who never knew his.
I was indeed my father’s son and Harry Bieber’s grandson (yes, spelling is correct.) Both, however, became later in life the type of men they should have been when their children actually needed them.
But they did grow and learn and I give both men enormous credit for that. They proved, as I’ve written before, we don’t need to stay in the gutter just because someone puts us there.
Hopefully, I started becoming that man and father my son needed after I spent those long hours at Dylan’s bedside when he was 14 and I got to know him in a way I didn’t before. I still feel guilty about that after all these years because my son and I missed so much in those first years of his life.
I’d like to think, and maybe I’m wrong, we’ve made up for a lot of that in the ensuing 15 years as he has grown into a man, one who I’m so proud to call a son. He’s caring, compassionate and thankfully, he’s healthy.
I thought about celebrating my 60th birthday a couple of years because that’s a huge milestone. But I was exhausted from doing estate business and was really down in the dumps after losing my dad just a couple of months before so I went to bed at 8 p.m. on a Saturday night – sort of like I did when I was six.
Today, the sun will shine – hopefully it will shine even though the forecast calls for rain- on a brand new day and attitude because today I’m ready to celebrate. Like we used to say in Fort Frances, ”give ‘er, give ‘er, Apple River.”
The Apple River, in case you’ve never heard of it, is – or was – a hugely popular party place in Somerset, Wisconsin where you rent inner tubes, one for the person and the other for a beer cooler, and float down a river drinking, hanging out with friends and listening to music blasting from giant speakers parked by motorhomes from various radio stations, finally ending up at your campground.
The reason I’m ready to let loose today is because after two gruelling years taking care of estate business, I’m done.
Finally, I can truly say goodbye to my dad, knowing I fulfilled his last wish completely, which was to make sure all his financial obligations were taken care of and the contents of his will fulfilled.
It wasn’t easy, as I’ve also written about before, but I feel today I fully rewarded my dad’s trust and faith by getting the job done.
Today I can feel good about myself and actually enjoy this day, celebrating the fact I’ve lasted this long with reasonably little wear and tear on the body. Sure, the hearing’s gone and it’s a little harder bending over to tie my shoelaces – not that I always do – but all things considered, I think I’ve weathered the storm of life pretty well.
The iron levels are still low, ditto with Vitamin B12 but those are easily dealt with. And like every guy I know my age, the prostate isn’t what it used to be but seriously, what is? Pretty much nothing.
So assuming I survive without injury a run to the dump this morning taking the dryer that died last weekend, by the time you read this I should be home in one piece getting ready to walk the dogs for the second or third time before sitting down to relax with Hair Nation cranked up loud in the headphones.
Incidentally, if you’re a hair metal fan, I highly recommend you check out the Danger Danger Pandora station – along with the Britny Fox channel, it has an incredibly diverse selection of bands and tunes. And I’m guessing many readers have never heard of either band because let’s face it, hair metal is an acquired taste. Or lack of taste.
If COVID hadn’t put a damper on the fun, I’d be having my old Herald co-worker Dave Rohovie over to watch hockey on the final day of our head-to-head showdown in our online hockey pool.
Yes, Dave and I, who used to patrol the blue line together as defence partners on The Herald hockey team, made it to the championship of a pool I’m in with a bunch of guys from Ontario. It’s an all-Alberta showdown, which would have been made a lot more fun today with a few tequila shots to go with the cheapshots we’ve been making about our favourite NHL teams all week as the season comes down to the wire. But alas, with COVID numbers at the levels they are, I don’t think any distance is a safe distance right now so unless Dylan is ready to act as Dave’s proxy for a couple of hours, I might have to go it alone. Cheers!
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