PapaStavo turned 70 over the weekend.
In 1944, $1 was the equivalent of $12.43 today. Europe was in the throws of World War II. But in a small abode precariously situated in the province of Verona, Italy, a boy was born.
So I packed up the boys and headed south for the celebratory shindig.
He was 33 when he met my mom. And I still remember spending my childhood days thinking how OLD my dad was. I’m 33 now, with friends and family who never cease to make me feel young. (Not to mention the dynamic duo who never fail to make me feel that I’m *far* too young to be responsible for human lives.)
Grandpa Stavo comes from a humble Italian background but he certainly wasn’t huddling against the bow of a ship wondering what was to come. Instead he came to this great nation via cruise ship. He didn’t see Lady Liberty welcoming the tired, poor and huddled masses. He arrived in Miami, via the Bahamas, seeing liberated ladies of the 1970s partying the night away.
Hindsight being 20/20, turns out Papa wasn’t always old (or bald).
Papa: Should I go get my hairs cut like Gramma?
Destroy: Silly Papa! You have to have hair to get a haircut.
Friends and family came from far and wide to celebrate the crazy old Italian. The laughter and wine flowed freely. (His sister began compiling a list of all the Italian words he was making up. The muppets corrected his English pronunciation.)
I created a slideshow depicting the previous seven decades. (It’s 20 minutes long, but you’re welcome to watch. Hey – it’s hard to compile all those years…)
Search and Destroy narrated the bit, snuggled comfortably in Papa’s lap. Although truly their enthusiasm merely masked an obsessive desire to partake in birthday cake. (Destroy spent a good part of the day hanging from the cake table. Hanging from. Not hanging around.)
I am the mother of boys. But I know firsthand how special the relationship between a father and a daughter can be.
These days, I’m of relatively little concern to SoCal’s favorite senior citizen. Papa will push past me in his excitement to get to “his boys.”
My dad and I certainly had our ups and downs as I grew up. (I was not a pleasant teenager.) But in my old, grownup, parenthood age I’ve realized we often butted heads because of our similarities. Today, I’ve realized I take after my dad quite a bit. And I’m lucky to do so.
Happy Birthday, Dad. (“That’s not Dad! That’s Papa!” the muppets always correct me.)
I’ve learned a lot from him over the years. And I remain proud that, so far, the muppets demonstrate the strength and determination toward life he’s already taught me. It doesn’t matter where you start; it’s where you finish – thus far humble beginnings have begot huge rewards.
I love you, Daddy. I know I’ll always be your little girl. (Even if you are distracted by the adorableness of your boys.)