I can’t not smile when I think about my dad on his birthday. He’s one of the shinest people I’ve known. Actually, he is the shinest person I know. Full of joy and life that in my 28 years I haven’t seen fade. Here are some of the best things about my dad:
His shameless love for my mother that can be traced from the beginning of their time together through countless love notes and postcards full of sweet nothings scattered in boxes and books throughout the house. As kids, we probably never went more than two weeks without finding a new sweet postcard waiting for my mom to find on her kitchen counter or on her pillow. They weren’t (and aren’t) afraid to smooch in front of us either. While I found the smooching unpleasant from the ages of 12-17, I’m now so grateful for an example of such thoughtful love.
Not afraid to take his kids to the garden store. I can still feel the wind on my face and the bumps in the road, smell the smell of strong coffee, and hear the sound of NPR morning edition’s theme song – as if I am on the way to the garden store with my dad on a Saturday morning. I can still see his smiling face looking forward to the road, coffee cup in hand, while talking about his favorite bands (Allman Brothers, Little Feat, etc) to me….an 11 year old. This is a man who’s not afraid to put the briefcase down and enjoy his favorite things (coffee, kids (right?), and gardening).
Not afraid to break the mold. This one would take too long to explain. Let’s just say that my father isn’t a people-pleaser. He does what he believes is right, and he does it in faith. Perhaps this explains the joy he carries, which from my perspective, has been unwavering. So many of the steps he (and my mother) have chosen are far from orthodox. I continue to learn from them about how to live a life in full pursuit of truth.
Knows how to be a friend. There’s no question that my mother is my father’s best friend. They live in the middle of nowhere, and are stuck in their house for weeks at a time….You have to be good friends to sign up for that. But he’s really a friend to pretty much everyone-even strangers- and he’s never afraid to set down a task for a good conversation. My parent’s home is always full of family or friends they’ve gathered along their (unorthodox) trail.
He’s surrounded by books. My dad is a voracious (late night) reader. His home is full of books, his car is full of books, he’s always ordering books. His wide-ranging interests and hunger for lifelong learning have no doubt rubbed off on me and my siblings. He knows his history, and he has a handle on the present, making him one of the best conversationalists around.
Happy birthday, pa!