Today is my dad's 60th birthday! I don't want to get too mushy*, but my dad really means the world to me and not a day goes by that I don't think to myself how lucky I am to have hit the parent jackpot. We talk constantly and conversations with my dad are never boring. I usually drop by his office to complain about how much I have to do and how I'm never going to get it all done, and then end up hanging around for two hours talking about hypothetical solutions to world issues or the possible consequences of traveling back in time.
This is a man who sat me down in front of the tv when I was barely three years old to watch Nelson Mandela's release from prison, and explained to me the significance of the event. In the car on the way home from elementary school he would use stop lights as an opportunity to demonstrate, with pieces of fruit, the way the solar system worked. Growing up he constantly encouraged me to be intellectually curious, aware of current events, and conscious of history, and to this day I think our conversations are what keep me on my toes. He challenges my opinions even when he agrees with them, not just to play devils advocate but to spark more debate about the topic at hand.
He is thoughtful, kind, generous, big-hearted, incredibly smart, and he has fantastic taste in music, movies and books. He's dealt with some hardship and failures over the years but he remains remarkably optimistic and idealistic. He is a hard worker and, despite major bumps along the road, has managed to own his own business for over 30 years. He never fails to cheer me up when I'm blue, and -- possibly aware of my fragile ego or maybe just blinded by fatherly pride -- I can't remember one instance in which he ever did anything less than gush over anything I painted or drew. And when my world shattered in February when Hypatia passed away, he sat with me night after night helping me to work through my grief. He's the most patient, level-headed and decent person I know, and no matter what happens in my life, one constant will always be having an incredibly amazing father.
Obviously -- if you couldn't tell-- I think my dad is pretty awesome. I am SO thankful that we are such good friends and that he's given me so many amazing memories over the years. Here's to many more :)
*well, that worked well. oops ;p