The best way to describe my dad is to say he reminds me a lot of Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) in the National Lampoons Vacation movies. It is Clark's truly endearing qualities that are reminiscent of my dad.
When my dad was in his late twenties/ early thirties he bought 10 acres of land in Sharbot Lake and built our family a log cabin. The cabin soon became a treasured yearly family retreat. A place we went every summer to reconnect and bond, to laugh, fight and get in trouble. Every year, our dogs, as if they had an affinity for pain, would attack the local porcupine (the porcupine would always win) and we would end up bringing our dogs to the vet to get the painful needles removed. How often do we do things that we know we shouldn't and that cause us pain? We laugh at the persistence and stupidity of the dogs, but don't we do the same in our lives?
I could tell story after story, our adventures in town at the local inn, the days at the beach, the campfires, the dinners, the games, the hikes. And, I can't leave out the ghost stories my cousins would make up, usually based on their adventures playing dungeons and dragons. I was young, naive and had a wild imagination so they (and my sister, whom are all older than me) thought it was hilarious to scare me with their tales, like the story of the walking tree that resided in our swamp. I have many fond memories from my childhood of our family trips and of our adventures there.
My parents taught me strong moral values. They taught me about personal responsibility, about honesty, trust, to be compassionate and to respect all life. They taught me the value and importance of education. A little disclaimer here, both my parents are way too smart for their own good! My dad taught me how to ride my bike, he got me my first Swiss army knife (hahaha - I won't disclose how old I was), how to look for long-lost treasures by the waters edge, nestled between the rocks and washed up on the shore and how to make good decisions in life. He taught me the meaning of hard work, and the meaning of unconditional love. He did and does this by being a supportive dad and husband, we always feel secure and know he has our back, by being an amazing and talented artist, an ethical business owner, a Buddhist priest, a hard and dedicated worker, and a loving parent.
My dad is very giving, he gives us his true self so that we may grow up to face this challenging world with courage, hope, and faith. My dad is not perfect and he does have his faults, his struggles, and his weaknesses. He taught me, however, how to face problems and challenges with a positive attitude, perseverance and a strong will. The great memories I have shared with my dad are everlasting and have positively influenced my life.
One of many significant influences my dad has had on our lives is that my sister is now a successful yoga teacher and acupuncturist, a path that came about as a direct result of our dads generosity and hard work. He bartered his talent and time in exchange for my sister and I to get yoga classes and that choice set her on her current path. Now she is a wonderful and amazing yoga practitioner. And, through his love of the arts, I am a successful photographer and artist. But, most importantly we have become loving, compassionate, loyal and driven women.
The older I get, the better I understand my dad because I find more and more of him in me. He teaches me to care about people, to keep learning, to have beliefs and to live by them.
It took me awhile to acknowledge all that he gives me and I am grateful that I can let him know now.