June 15, 2008

My Dad

My Dad loves a good challenge. Commuting to work (31 miles each direction) on bicycle regularly and racing himself by keeping track of his time each day; running 15-20 marathons (keeping track is a challenge); keeping himself on ‘no sweets’ diets for extended periods of time (years, it seemed, when I was a child); summiting various mountains across the globe; reading an average of 3 enormous books weekly; flawlessly planning a yearly vacation for a family of 8 children (which usually involves crossing an ocean) – complete with an hour by hour itinerary; literally never missing an answer in Trivial Pursuit (unless it is the pink category: MTV is not worth knowing about); holding himself to a higher standard in almost everything he does than the average person around him: he is an ambitious variety of extraordinary.

So, I often felt challenged by my Dad. From grades to exercise to my personal integrity, my Dad was there to challenge me for more. He made a most convincing argument: he was all of the things he expected from me. I think many parents in their claims and expectations for children fail on their end – their kids look at them and see that even they have not lived what they want their children to live. I never had the luxury of dismissing some of what my Dad said because he lacked the gumption to be what he himself required.

Since I moved to France, my Dad has been my biggest supporter. I didn’t expect this, necessarily. My choices have not always aligned with what my Dad would have been after. My Dad went to France on his LDS mission (2-years) when he was 19 years old. About 6-months into my stay in France, when I was really despondent and wanted to leave, he shared how difficult being in France had been for him initially and how much he had gained through perseverance. Perhaps it was at this time that he began to enjoy a good challenge. Knowing that even my Dad, the toughest and most resolved person I know, was challenged in this was heartening in a significant way for me.

Happy Father’s Day to a remarkable Dad. I love you.
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