A wonderful legacy

My father’s retirement dinner.

My father ends his career as a practicing physician this week.  This, after nearly 40 years of delivering babies and impacting so many people as a healer.

Between my mother and father, both obstetricians, thousands and thousands and thousands of babies were brought into the world.  It’s probably safe to say they delivered a large chunk of the population in Chicago’s southwest suburbs.  Think about it: They were present for countless life-changing miracles!

Yet, even as their beepers went off at odd hours of the night (hey, babies don’t wait for a “good time” to be born!) and they were busy building their individual practices, my four siblings and I were clueless to the amount of juggling that transpired behind the scenes.  We had absolutely no clue.  Mainly, because my parents always made it to our important childhood events: gymnastics meets, tennis matches, soccer games, school award ceremonies, etc.  They always made time for us, even as the demands of career — and obstetrics is no easy career — tugged and pulled, tugged and pulled.  As my siblings and I grow older, we recognize the incredible endurance and love that this illustrates.

But tonight was a celebration of my father.  And I couldn’t have been prouder.  Many people from his career stood up to say a few words, each speech filled with so much love and gratitude.  My father leaves behind such an incredible legacy.  Because he was kind.  Because he was fair.  Because he was compassionate.  Because he never veered from his moral compass.  Because he made time for people.  And everyone who came into contact with him recognized this, and respected him for it.  Still do.

I am proud to be his daughter, especially on a night such as tonight — where the tapestry of his life and legacy is highlighted so beautifully.  It evoked that final scene from “It’s a Wonderful Life,” where George Bailey is showered with gratitude from all of the people whose lives he touched, whether he realized it or not.  This is the type of legacy I hope to cultivate through my words, actions and thoughts.

Fancy awards, financial riches and worldwide fame — they don’t hold a candle to what I experienced in that banquet hall in honor of my father tonight.  It was love.

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