Today is my Dad’s birthday.
He is 30 years older than me.
Which is a total trip because it means that when he was my age, he had a 6 year old and a 4 year old. Now my younger brother has a 2 year old and my dad is a grandpa.
There was a time when I thought my dad was in need of my help.
In college, as I began to awaken to the depth of human potential, I saw my dad as a wee bit ignorant.
I even planned a 3 week trip to Costa Rica with him so we could find ourselves…and each other.
In the back of my mind I planned on educating him about the spiritual elements of life that he was missing out on.
Then one gorgeous day under the Costa Rican sun, we took a long walk on a secluded beach.
I started hinting at the aspects of life that I thought he was missing out on. I finally asked him flat out, “what do you really want out of life?”
He thought about it for a minute. We walked along the impossibly white sand beach in silence. Then he answered me with a reply I did not expect.
“More of the same,” my dad said.
And in that instant my relationship with my dad changed forever. And so did my knowledge of myself.
Here I was, full of collegiate arrogance, but totally without any life experience to back it up. And I was attempting to “enlighten” a man who had walked his walk with more integrity than I ever understood before.
My dad is a man raised by immigrants without high school diplomas, and lived out the American dream through hard work and intense intellect.
A man so respected by his peers that a few years after our walk, he was summoned from his successful law practice to serve as a Superior Court Judge.
A man who has raised 2 children, remains faithfully wed to his wife, and maintains relationships with friends from high school and college.
A man who, although he subscribes to no “faith,” lives according to a strict code of honor and ethics FAR more impressive than nearly every “religious” person I’ve ever known.
I thought he was missing out on something.
But I’ve learned that he has everything.
“More of the same.”
What more can you hope for?
Years later I still admire and am awed by the beauty of that answer.
And even though we have our fair share of differences, my respect for my father grows with every day.
Happy Birthday, Pop.
I love you.
(pics taken Xmas 2006)