My Dad turns 60 today!!! SIXTY!!! If I know my Dad at all, he won’t want to make his birthday a big deal whatsoever… If my Mom or any of his friends suggest doing anything to celebrate he will say that “it’s just another day” or something to the tune of that. But c’mon, the guy is turning 60 and in honour of his 60th birthday I want to share with the world how lucky a daughter I am to have such an incredible Dad.
I would go as far to say that I have never and will likely never come across anybody who has a stronger work ethic than my dear, ol’ Dad. Once he starts something, there is absolutely nothing that will get in his way from completely what he has started. It doesn’t matter how impossible a task, my Dad will figure it out once he gets his mind set. And not only will he figure it out… it will be done with the perfection that only a perfectionist can truly appreciate. He had a career that had an incredibly stressful, gruesome and negative environment. He was on call for every 24 hours that there are in a day, for all of the 365 days in the year. Even if he was on holidays or on vacation. Growing up, I never understood the magnitude of his every day life. As an adult, I am able to appreciate the nature of his career in a way that I was never able to do as a child or teenager. Hearing his stories are both fascinating and terrifying, yet they always make me appreciate him that much more. My husband, John, and I now love to hear about what his work life used to be like and it’s pretty tough to complain about the corporate world after hearing some of his stories. Because of the nature of his career, I cannot post or share any photos of my Dad.
My Dad taught me how to be independent. He always instilled in me to get good grades in school, not to please my parents or my teachers, but for myself. I never really “got it” until I started university, but better late than never right? My sweet Dad was so proud of me for my first ‘A+’ on my first midterm in university that he went to the drug store on his own, bought me a funny “I’m proud of you for succeeding” card, wrote in it himself and mailed it to me 800 kms away. That card meant the world to me and I still have it today.
My Dad has always been extremely supportive and encouraging. My sister and I have played on a variety of sports team since we were probably 3 or 4 and my Dad was always there on the sidelines cheering us on. He coached us in baseball. He watched all our gymnastic routines and he watched my sister and I perform our self choreographed routines on the trampoline. He drove thousands and thousands and thousands of kilometres to always come to our out of town games, tournaments, provincials, etc. Even if it meant coming straight from a long day of work in his work clothes, my Dad was always there. Never once did he ever complain about the cost (time and/or money) to be there to support his girls. And in many more ways than one, he has always been our biggest supporter from the sidelines.
No matter how crappy of a day he had, my Dad would always play with my sister and I. There was no way that he was going to have prissy girls as daughters. He would play outside with us, take us to the park, he would play Super Nintendo and Playstation with us. He would buy us remote control cars and play with them with us for hours upon hours in the middle of our cup-de-sac. In the winter time, he bought us track remote control racing cars with upside down loops and everything. He would take us tobogganing, and when we were old enough he bought us a G.T., where he would double up on the G.T. with us. He taught us how to ski and would go skiing with me up until I was an adult. As a kid, I was a daredevil and would go straight down hill on my skis as fast as I could. My poor Mom would almost have a heart attack every time we went skiing and she would always tell me that I needed to make turns or that I needed to slow down. My Dad saw potential in me and signed me up as a ski racer.
He would play catch with us in the living room with velcro mitts and fuzzy balls (he also bought us super cool hippopotamus head gloves to play catch with.) He would play football with us on the beach. He would let us ride our big, black dog as a horse in the backyard when we were really little. He would spends hours in the backyard with my sister and I teaching us sports skills. He introduced me to badminton by playing as a family in our backyard when I was 13 years old… because of that I later when on to win gold at provincials playing badminton. He would take us on family bike rides that wouldn’t just be a tootle around the block, but kilometres and kilometres in the mountains in Jasper (Canadian Rockies).
One of the first clear memories that I have is the day that my Dad took my training wheels off. We celebrated by going on a family bike ride on a path through Medicine Hat. My sister and I were in front of my parents and after we had just pedalled up to the top of a huge hill, I couldn’t wait to reward myself by pedalling as fast as I could straight back down the other side of that hill. I was a daredevil, remember? I pedalled as hard as I could down the hill… before I knew it, I had lost total control of my bike and I flew head first over my handlebars and landed chin first on the tiny, red rock pathway. I have never, ever forgotten how fast my Dad got to my side in that moment and even as a four year old I could see the fear, worry and concern in his eyes. He scooped me right up, ran to the closest street there was, flagged down a police car and rode with me to the closest hospital. After I was healed, we went on another family bike ride (on a flat path mind you) because there was never even an option of not getting back onto my bike. And for that, I love him. I still have a scar on my chin to this day that I’ve always been proud of.
We were never rich growing up, but we always went on a family vacation every summer. That was something our family valued a lot and still do to this day. We would go camping a lot… real true camping, outhouses and all. We went to Alaska and the Yukon one summer. We went to Penticton some summers. We went to Jasper quite often. It didn’t matter where we went, whether we were staying at a nicer hotel in Jasper or if we were all staying in our tent trailer, as long as we were together that’s all that would matter.
My Dad hasn’t agreed with every single decision that I have ever made, but he has always been there for me when I needed him. Even if he knew that I was making an unwise decision and I wouldn’t listen to him, he would never give me the “I told you so” talk. I’ve always been one who needs to learn things themselves and he would respect that… I have an inkling he was the same way. I have always had a special bond with my Dad, he’s always just understood me. I’ve had some of my best talks with my Dad during car rides, but he never forces or pushes me to talk about anything that I don’t want to. Our talks happen organically. During those talks, he has offered me invaluable, life changing advice that I am so very appreciative of. He has always had my best interest at heart and I’ve always known that all he’s ever wanted was the best for his family.
I could go on and on about how great my Dad is. I could tell you how funny, witty, generous, stubborn, smart, etc he is, but those who know him already know that. My Dad is a one of kind, stand up guy and I am so proud to be his daughter. I look up to my Dad in so many ways with the utmost respect and admiration.
One of the greatest lessons he has ever taught me is that labels don’t matter. He taught me to be just as kind to the janitor as you would be to the CEO. He taught me to be a good person and that materialistic crap does not matter. It doesn’t matter how much stuff you have, what your last name is, what your job title is, where you came from, what kind of car you drive, what kind of house you live in… all that matters is that you are a good person.
My Dad was not a wealthy man by normal standards, but he taught us that the quality of life that you live does not depend on how much money you have in your bank account. My Dad taught me how to have fun. How to live a rich life and to share it with those you love. He taught me that you don’t need bucket loads of money to enjoy life, that Christmas isn’t about the presents under the Christmas tree. In many ways, my Dad is an extremely wealthy man and he gave me the kind of childhood that money simply cannot buy.
Thank you for everything… you know how much I love you.
Happy Birthday, Pops xo