On Turning 40

I have a very vivid memory of the day my dad turned 40.

February 24, 1979. It was a Saturday. It was an unseasonably warm day.

I played hockey that afternoon at Twin Rinks with my childhood friends Brad Blumenfeld and Danny Steinberg. Brad’s mother Susan picked us up from hockey.

When I came home a truck was in our driveway dropping off catering supplies. My mother had planned a surprise party for my father and hadn’t told me. She didn’t think I could keep a secret like that from my dad. She was probably right.

She had gotten him out of the house on some ruse with the help of his friend Bob Levitas. She had hired a DJ for the night and even had a disco ball installed on the ceiling of our dining room. It was the 70s after all. I even remember that the DJ was blind in one eye. I also remember having one heck of a time and being allowed to stay up well past my bedtime.


From the look on my dad’s face, he too had one heck of a time. I remember thinking as a 11-year-old how old 40 felt. And now I am turning 40. And, well, it doesn’t really feel that old. I hope that he didn’t feel old that day. He looks so young. Just hitting his prime. His career was blossoming. He had a wonderful family. He would have his health for another twenty years. Life was good. And it shows in the smile on his face in photos from that day. Looking at him back then, so happy and full of life, it is impossible to think of him gone, lost to us, and lost to the life that he lived so fully.

If you look carefully, my increasingly large nose is
visible in the top left-hand corner of the photo.

This has been a hard week, and it is making 40 a bittersweet reminder of the year that was. Last week we marked several difficult milestones–a year since his passing and burial, and his birthday that we celebrated in his honor to remember all that he was to us. My mom and Andrea came in so we could be together, which was important to all of us. They were not able to stay for his birthday, so Jacqui and I marked it by going out for a feast at a great restaurant. Just the way he would have wanted it. And as Sophia grows up, we will celebrate his birthday with a special meal and share stories of his eating prowess and love for his family and for life.

Disco baby!!!

This is a leap year, so it is a special birthday for me. Not only will I be 40, but I will also be 10. My 30s were a decade of highs and lows. A lot of living. I met Jacqui, fell in love, and found in her a partner, a lover, and a wife. I got sick and got better. Sophia!!! And then my dad died.

I’ll take a little more yang and a little less yin in my 40s.

There is a photo of my father above Sophia’s crib, and I often sing to her at night with a song my father always sang to my sister when she was a baby:

Do you love me?
Well I love you.
I really, really love you.
You are my special girl.
Do you love me?
Well I love you.

I miss him.

That guy doesn’t look a day over 39!

4 thoughts on “On Turning 40”

  1. i miss him too. and his song that he sung to andrea and that you will now pass down to your sophia is a beautiful thing. i remember it well and how he loved singing it to andrea. i love you so. happy 40th birthday. mom

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  2. glad to see another survivor healing through his blog. i had my six months cancer free scan in february 08. the doctor was asking when the wife and i were planning on having kids. i’m starting to look toward the future with great drive and motivation.http://wahoowellness.blogspot.com/keep up the good work – i wouldn’t trade my experience with lymphoma for the world.

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