Happy Birthday Dad! Trying to shop for a father like you is well, close to impossible, since I still haven't gotten rich enough to buy...

To Dad: My Favorite Valentine

Happy Birthday Dad!

Trying to shop for a father like you is well, close to impossible, since I still haven't gotten rich enough to buy you that hot boat and lake to water ski on. ;-) (Maybe someday, we can keep hoping!) I started thinking of something I could do for you that you would really appreciate and enjoy. I realized, hey, I'm a writer, kinda, so why not write you something nice? So here we go.

Every day it becomes increasingly apparent to me that you don't really appreciate your parents until you have a child of your own. When Sebastian's being a little brat, I can't help but think, man I must've been just as irritating when I was a little kid. Which means, my parents must've felt just as frustrated as I do. It makes you realize how much your parents really did for you. You just can't understand that fully until you have to do that much for someone else.

When Sebastian follows us around the house, bugging us to play with him, I think of all the times I would come bug you while you were working or projecting around. I don't once remember you telling me to go away and leave you alone. You were always very good at giving me a job to do if I asked to help. Or stopping what you were doing to teach me something or answer my incessant questioning. I never once thought to thank you for always taking that time with me. You don't realize these things when you're a kid, but not only were you being an amazing father for me, you were also helping me be an excellent parent someday.

And speaking of you working all the time, I cannot thank you enough for that as well. Not only did you always have a steady job and provide financially for our family, but you were, and still are, always working on something. Your inability to sit still and to always be motivated to accomplish something has helped me be a much more productive adult then I would've guessed when I was a lazy teenager sleeping in until noon and you were yelling at me to get out of bed. I see many people in the world, of all ages, that struggle with laziness and motivation. Whenever I see this, I always think of you and am incredibly grateful that I had you to teach me how to stay motivated.

Your motivation isn't just about not being lazy, it's also about finding things you really enjoy doing. Sometimes I think you need to relax and take a break more often (which you totally do!), but then I remind myself how much you enjoy all the things you're always working on. It's not like you're staying at your day job and working all night. You come home every evening and work on the things you actually enjoy doing. There aren't very many people that can honestly say they do what they really enjoy doing every day. Mostly people, myself included sometimes, whine and bitch about our regular day jobs and family taking up all our time, so we never get to do what we enjoy. But you managed your time well enough you always seemed to have time for everything. And you always do something you enjoy every day. That has taught me how important it is to find things that you enjoy doing and actually do them every day. In fact now, I have too many hobbies and not enough time. Which is much better than being bored all the time.

That brings me to the fact that you are pretty much always happy. When I was a depressed teenager, you said something to me that helped me a lot later on. You broke things down to the basics. You'd say, well, do you want to live or do you want to die? You want to live, so, do you want to be happy or do you want to be miserable? You want to be happy. I didn't really get it at the time, but eventually I realized that what you were doing was teaching me that nothing is worth being depressed over. Whatever it is, you gotta get over it so that you can live and be happy. Because after all, that's what we're here to do.

In addition to being happy, you've also taught me other ways to make a difference in the world. You might rant and rave and get a little cynical about politics, but I know that's because you've been around long enough to hear everyone talking about changing things and making them better, but that's all people ever do, is talk about it. Most people don't actually do anything to make the world a better place. But you do, and you taught me plenty of things that make the world better. Things like gardening, conserving water, conserving electricity (shut off the lights when you leave the room!), reusing everything you can, being financially responsible, which translates into buying less material things and therefore wasting less resources, the list goes on. You like to joke that you're trying to make a large carbon footprint, but you know that's not true at all. You're actually one of the most environmentally minded people I know.

Well I could write an entire book about all the things I learned from my parents, and maybe someday I will (and then maybe that book will make me rich and I can buy you that hot boat and lake!). But for now, I will finish with I love you dad. Thank you so much for everything you've done for me. You are the greatest father anyone could ever hope for. Happy Valentine Birthday!