Remembering My Dad on His Birthday

September 12th is my dad’s birthday. Today, he would have turned 57.

My dad, Arthur (Big Art) Fabra, was a great man. The quality I admire most was his work ethic. My dad was the kind of guy that would work from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. After a full day of mentally and physically challenging work, he would come home and workout for two hours in a homemade weight room in a backyard shed with no air-conditioning.

He was a man that could not sit still, and he raised a son that is really good at it.

During one winter break from college, I went to work with my dad. He worked in the construction field as a plumber and pipe fitter. That particular job was at Oschner hospital in New Orleans, and my dad was the superintendent of the project. Not only was the work very physical, but it also required tons of mental focus. His knowledge, his leadership and his work ethic were on full display. He was amazing at his job. While I enjoyed spending my break with my dad, I didn’t fully appreciate the experience at the time. After all, I was just a college kid complaining about having to wake up so early. Now that I’m older and since his passing, those few weeks have become a treasured memory.

Towards the end of my dad’s short battle with cancer (for the second time), we made a trip to the hospital, a few days before he was moved to hospice care. I remember telling my dad, “I try to be more like you everyday.”

Since starting this project 285 days ago, I certainly have developed better habits. I have worked harder at my job, gotten in better shape and focused on my big goals. However, the thing I am most proud of is making good on that promise to my dad. I’m just trying to be more like him everyday.

In addition to his selflessness and amazing work ethic, his goofy personality led to many quotable moments and hilarious stories. This is his legacy. These are the things that my sister tells her son, Gabriel, that never got to meet his grandfather. These are the stories that I bring up with my college buddies. This is what we all miss.

Happy Birthday, dad! Love you. Miss you everyday.