Here’s to 84 years!

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Today is my grandpa’s 84th birthday; Papa, as we call him, or Tom as most others know him by.

How can I describe Papa? He’s hardworking, loyal, kind, outspoken, and at times, completely inappropriate, handsome, interesting, loving, and incredibly funny. There are so many stories I could share about Papa, so in celebration of his birthday, I’ll share one of my favorites.

Picture it: April 2009. Brian and I were still newlyweds and had just moved from our apartment to our first home. I couldn’t wait to invite my mom and grandparents over for lunch at our new house. I prepared my favorite: chicken salad croissants, and displayed the toppings on a new serving tray: tomatoes, lettuce, and cheese. A tradition in our family is to serve the eldest first, so Papa made up his sandwich and sat at the table to begin eating. After my mom made hers, she shortly after says, “Shan, I think this is cabbage,” as she holds the “lettuce” up with one hand in an examination manner. I look over at Papa and he’s happily eating his croissant, cabbage and all, and says, “I think so too, but it still tastes great, honey. You did good.” Here I am, hosting one of my first family meals and served cabbage instead of lettuce for a sandwich topping, and Papa didn’t have the heart to tell me.

You see, Papa and I have a one-of-a-kind bond; we are each others’ biggest fans.

Tonight at Papa’s birthday dinner, I toasted to his 84 years and hopefully 84 more. If only the world could be lucky enough to have another 84 years of Tom…

Happy birthday, Papa! I am so very grateful for all that you have given to me, and now my family.

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Papa and Bridget playing the back yard. August 3, 2013

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