At 70, I have learned and except the name of Pops

Today I turn 70 years old. Some months ago, my wife asked me if I wanted to celebrate my 70th birthday. I told her I did not want any organized celebration. I just wanted to be with her and maybe do a little gambling. About a week before my birthday, my oldest son called to tell us that he and his family were coming to my house on the weekend to celebrate the birthday with me. A few days later, another one of my sons who lives in Texas called stated that he wanted to be a part of the celebration too. Then a day before the weekend, a nephew of mine stated that he wanted to be a part of the celebration too. I quickly told my sons that I would love to see them and their families but my house was only so big and I could only accommodate a few people. My oldest son declared that he was going to bring his trailer and that he and his family would stay in it. That gave me just enough bedrooms for my other son and my nephew. I did not intend on having a party. Of course, there are other family members and I may have offended by not inviting them to come. First, this is a day about me and my birthday is not about anybody else. Second, it was my sons and nephews who heard about my birthday and tried to be there with their families. Unlike my 60th birthday, where I invited all family members and a large part of my friend base, this is not a party I or my wife planned.
Thank goodness that there was not more people who came. My house was completely full. Besides my sons and nephew coming with their wives, each couple brought two children. Starting with the toddler all the way up to the 19-year-old. My wife, who is a planner, found herself a little out of sorts. This event was planned and carried out by those attending. That’s not to say that I did make several emergencies runs to the grocery store to be able to have enough food and drink for everyone. Even on a couple of days they were here, there were runs to the store just for ice.
During the time that the family was here, the temperature was in the upper 90s. So as much as I wanted to stay outside and visit with all the family members while the children and the adults were in the pool or they were poolside talking, I had to go inside the house for a while just to cool down. In doing so, it was just like watching a movie. There I sat looking through the glass windows and watching the adult children gather near the outdoor kitchen or playing in the pool with all the children. Half the children had to use little vest with arm air floats. A massive amount of splashing and yelling while playing occurred. I sat there watching this group, all having my same last name, gathered together having a great time visiting and playing in my house. As I looked at each one of them, I got a little emotional as it seems like it was just yesterday that my own children and those swimming vest. Time seems to have flown by. My nephew and his wife brought their four-year-old twin daughters. During a conversation with them they asked me what my name was? I thought for a minute. To their parents I am uncle Steve. And so, I thought it would be a little different for them to call me uncle Steve. Then I realize that most of my sons call me pops. And so, I told them just to call me Pops. The name Pops to me is one of respect and endearment. It also is one that seems appropriate for man who is 70 years old.
Amazingly, there were no bad moments or ugly incidents that happened during the visit of the family. It was truly a perfect two days. When it came time to sing happy birthday to me I had wondered how many different names would come out for me. As it turned out, everyone had agreed to sing the name Pops. And so, in unison it was Happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Pops.
I feel now that I have earned and I except the title of Pops. That does not mean that others can’t call me grandpa, Dad off or uncle. Even those people that aren’t family members are welcome to call me Pops. I like the title. I know I started using the title Pops when I started this blog. That was because my sons would call me Pops. Now I feel like everyone can call me Pops. I’m 70 years old. There is no clever way to try to say that I’m younger than the age I am. I have earned it, I have survived many things to get to it.
I want to thank those family members who took it upon themselves to come to my house and celebrate my 70th birthday. I want those family members who are not here to know that I love them and even though they weren’t here physically I thought of each and every one of them. On the screensaver of my computer I have every picture that I’ve ever taken flash in front of me. And that includes everyone in the family. The pictures are from those that live in California, Arkansas, Indiana and Texas. And just about every day I get to see their face. Recently I’ve also gone on Facebook. And I get to see all those people who are friends and their families as they grow.
During the weekend, as my wife and I looked out at all those playing in the pool and working in the kitchen we became a little emotional. My wife cried and it was all I could do not to cry from the joy of seeing the family.
I would hope that everyone could live as long as I have and that they are able to have celebrations where they can make their eyes swell with tears of joy.
So now if I meet you and I don’t already know you, I will tell you that my name is Pops. I will continue to wear the title probably and most comfortably. Both my wife and I were totally exhausted by the time the last of the family members headed back to their homes. Now it’s time to go to the casino.

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