Monday, November 9, 2009

Dad. It's Your Birthday.

How cool is this guy? Yeah, that's my dad, doing his famous monkey arms which, sadly, he can't do with quite so much ease these days, blasted shoulders. He's our bionic man now, with shoulder replacements. Did the monkey arms one too many times, I guess.

Not to brag or anything, but, my dad is basically amazing. Also, he's 61 years old today. I debated posting this yesterday evening since they are in Durban, South Africa right now which is currently nine hours ahead of us, but then I thought, well, but, he was born in a US time zone, so... its all very complicated.

Dad has always been so energetic and ambitious and positive, and this has led him into truly making a difference and leaving a mark on this world. For instance, back in the 80s he helped to start a couple of non-profit organizations, Deseret International Foundation and also Enterprise Mentors International. Then in the June of 1999, the summer before I was to start my Senior year of high school, we moved to Harare, Zimbabwe for two years so that my Dad could put together and put on Aids prevention seminars called Education for Life. Now he and my Mom and my two youngest brothers are in Durban, South Africa where my Dad has been Mission President for two and a half years this December.

Dad has always done things big. He was always around when I was growing up, but its not the day to day stuff that I remember the most, it was the 'excursions.' Dad is all about planning and is amazing at dealing with groups and so if we were going camping or rock climbing or to the beach or to my Grandparents farm, we always had all the right gear and everything always felt so official. The day to day stuff that I DO recall was big on it own- like spending hours making a giant Lego creation or hours making a fort in the sand. Everything turned into a project. Dad cannot stand to feel idle and if something needs to be done, he just wants to get it done- you can throw out something really casual like, 'I need to run to the store and get some eggs,' and he is back in five minutes with coat and keys in hand saying, 'well, are we going?'

Taking his Mama for a spin on the Harley

Dad is certified to captain a sailboat- sailing is a passion of his which I fully support ;)

Growing up Dad and I, well, clashed a lot. I think we had just the right characteristics that were alike along with the right characteristics that were unalike to create friction. The like characteristics being things like a quick-temper, pig-headedness, sarcasm and stubbornness and being lousy at backing down or admitting we're wrong... (feel free to dispute, Dad, but its true ;) but then I have a lot of my mom in me as well, being very emotional and sensitive and noticing and reading into everything, and I get very overprotective. My parents created in me a contradiction of personality traits. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it didn't always bode well for Dad. My parents have said that I was born with a chip on my shoulder, and its true, I am fairly cynical and suspicious and keep a lot of walls up and am happy to offer help but hate to accept it... always been like that since I was born, and somehow a lot of that chip found itself directed at Dad. I knew a lot of girls growing up who wanted to marry someone like their dad. I wasn't one of them. Not then, at least.

The older I get, the more I can look at what I consider his 'flaws' (many of which are the same as mine, which is probably why I am so sensitive about them) and not mind them so much. Now I can appreciate the amazing things we have in common like our sense of humor, our love of travel and cultures, our appreciation of the arts, a sort of conservative liberal view of the world... I actually sort of had a surprising and unexpected epiphany just a couple of months ago: People always ask, 'what are you looking for in a man,' or, 'what's your type,' which are not easy questions to answer. I think its silly to have a list, and most of the people I know that are the happiest ended up with people totally different from what we all would have expected. I was sort of just sitting and thinking of the most important qualities, the things I wanted to have in common with someone I would marry, and all of a sudden it hit me: I'm describing my Father. Not completely and exactly, of course, but all the big things fit. Aaah, the beauty of hindsight.

One of Dad's more recently acquired hobbies: doting Grandpa

So old man, we've had our ups and down, but I like to think its only up from here. I love you and I am proud of the life you have led and that I am a part of it, and I am so excited for you guys to come home and for all of the adventuring ahead of us. Have a great birthday.

1 comment:

dave + kirst said...

He sounds pretty cool to me :D I think Dave and him would be bff's in another life - both into saving people (non-profit stuff) and starting new businesses etc. Hope to meet him one of these days... (your Pops that is, not Dave ;).