Celebrating an 80th birthday is extra-special, and I am going to share 80 ways to celebrate! It is an honor to me to be able to celebrate my dad’s 80th with him~ although we aren’t able to have the original party with family that we had planned, we shifted things a little to still make him know how much he is loved!
My dad is one of those people who is so genuine and kind-hearted. I have always wondered how I got so lucky to have such a wonderful father. He’s a gift! He is also proof to me of answered prayers and modern miracles. When my dad was 49, he was diagnosed with heart disease. His father passed away at age 47. Being genetically predisposed to heart disease was full of irony to me- the man who has always had the biggest heart of anyone I’ve known had a bad heart. That thought stuck with me and was always so ironic to me.
Several angioplasty procedures, open-heart by-pass surgery, 12 stents, a pace maker, plus a bout with cancer later, WE ARE CELEBRATING HIS 80TH BIRTHDAY! I told him recently that I am so happy that he is 80 years old- I have worried and prayed about his “bad” heart for literal decades, and I couldn’t be more grateful for so many answered prayers.
One of the best things about my dad is that he doesn’t keep his goodness to himself. He spreads his goodness and kindness, his optimism and friendliness, his compassion and generosity to everyone he meets. He does it very humbly. He does it by being authentic. He is one of those people that you know you can trust and that makes everyone feel worthwhile. He finds the good in others, and he is so good to others.
My dad always taught me to pay attention to those who need a friend or just a friendly conversation – whether it was at a social event, or at school or church. When he was getting treatments for cancer, Dad met a fellow cancer patient who had no family. As that gentleman’s cancer advanced, my dad still visited him regularly. My dad made sure his new friend didn’t feel alone in his last months on Earth- and I am sure he gave the gentleman a happiness in that friendship that none of us can ever even know.
By example, my dad taught me to pick up the tab of police officers, fire fighters, and military soldiers whenever the opportunity arose. Each Christmas, I can remember sponsoring a family to help brighten their Christmas holiday with gifts and food. Dad took my sister and me to deliver the items to the families. Those experiences have stuck with me to this day, and I have vivid memories of those families.
I just recently found out that for decades my dad has been “the rocket man” for a school in Georgia- sponsoring Rocket Day for a science teacher so that all of his students can launch these big rockets as part of their learning. It makes me wonder what else he’s been doing along the way that I’ve never heard about!
He taught us to always appreciate those who are working the biggest jobs to the smallest jobs. Growing up, I remember that everywhere we went, my dad always spoke to everyone. Even if it was just a wave or a quick hello- he acknowledged them and taught us to do the same. Everywhere we went, we always ran into someone that my dad knew. It still happens to this day~ I can go somewhere and almost always find a connection with someone through my father, He’s a friendly, genuine, good-hearted fellow. 🙂 I say he has a heart of gold.
Here is how we have decided to celebrate him! Instead of one big celebration, we have decided to celebrate him throughout the year and keep the party going all year long. My goal is to come up with 80 little ways to let him know how loved he is~ check back as I update it throughout the year and see how the list grows! Here are the first 10 that we did this past week…
- The night before his actual birthday, I called him to make sure he was ready for his big day. Of course, we all called him separately on his birthday, too.
- On the morning of his birthday, my husband, kids and I had a special birthday breakfast in his honor and made a wish for him. We had Williams Sonoma Sticky Buns and then I placed an order to be delivered to him. He and my mom will be be happily surprised when it arrives. They have given those to my husband each Christmas for years- and they always tease us that we’ve never shared them over all of the years. And so, now they will have some of their own!
- Facetimed with him with the whole family before bedtime on his birthday- including our dogs!
- I sent flowers to him on the day after his birthday with a note that read, “Just making sure you’re still celebrating”. I am not sure he’s ever been sent flowers, and so that made it even more fun!
- We sent a goodie basket filled with fun snacks to enjoy.
- My sister and I gathered photos and then took out a full-page ad in his hometown newspaper. It was on page 3 of the paper so that after he read the front page and turned to the next page, he would see it.
- I ordered 80 bottles of mini champagne to give out in his honor.
- We have also ordered 80 “Aubie” cookies (his alma mater is Auburn University and Aubie is the mascot) to share with others in honor of his birthday. My dad loves Auburn!
- We ordered 80 balloons to decorate the church parking lot for #10
- We hosted a Birthday Parade at their church and invited friends to drive by and wave and help celebrate!