My dad turns 60 today. He is this balanced hybrid. A mix of extreme goofiness, laughing at his own jokes, spontaneous, child-like enthusiasm and jazz hands "watch me, watch me" mixed with this incredible work ethic, this sense of duty and responsibility, and a self effacing modesty that seems ironic but is absolutely real. He is a balance of devoted and ridiculous, intimidating and hilarious, depending on the day. He is flawed and imperfect, with incredibly high expectations for himself and sometimes others. And I love him in huge quantities. He inspires me. He makes me laugh, sometimes at him. Dogs and children are drawn to him. It could be because he gets down on the floor to their level and waves at stranger's babies in restaurants. (Unless they are crying, he "hates" crying babies in restaurants. "It's so rude. We never let you guys do that in restaurants when you were little. We just got up and left.")
He is willing to throw himself into new things with a passion and intensity that is legendary. The perfect description of this is that Dad and I took a cooking class a couple of Saturdays ago. This is his current passion and he showed up with a special composition notebook just to takes notes for this soups and stews class. And falling back on his accountant ways, it was a composition book filled with graph paper. And he took notes, lots of serious notes as the chef explained in his rolling Louisiana drawl how to make a dark savory roux. Dad jotted it all down. Just in case. And then we made little jokes under our breaths throughout the class.
He has taught me to do my homework, work hard and be willing to laugh at myself when necessary, which is often. He can be a little scary. He is driven and focused and goal oriented. To get on his calendar takes a concerted effort because his help and his time are a hot commodity. But he is one of my biggest fans and favorite heroes. The man needs a cape and a mask. So happy birthday, Dad. I sometimes still want to sit on your lap and have you read me just one more story. But I'll take watching copious amounts of HBO and eating cookies with you instead.