I live 3019 miles away from my dad and miss having him around. I wish that Finn and Bodhi could see him more often.
My dad has a love of learning and understanding that he passed on to me and my brother. Our house was filled with books and I used to browse through them all (I still do, when I visit). Dad loves talking about ideas of any subject--from spirituality to politics to art. He gave me a love for ideas and discussion. From him I also learned to argue fairly well since he would challenge almost anything we said. We had to have clear evidence for any claim or he would write it off immediately.
I remember him telling us (over and over again) "If you think you can, you can" (he was really into the power of positive thinking for a while--he even had some sort of mantra like that posted up on the refrigerator). He never lectured or preached to us, but this attitude-- that we could achieve anything if we set our minds to it--definitely came through.
My dad has a fabulous sense of humor that always added laughter to the intensity in our house. He has all of these inside jokes with himself. We didn't know what half of them meant, but we laughed anyway. He has a way of expressing his perspective that makes me laugh. He'll tell you a story and follow it with..."It's beyond description" or "It's a mind snapper...forget about it!"
People love my dad. Anyone who knows him will tell me that he's a little bit crazy (in a good way) but that they love being around him. When my mom was dying she told me that she wasn't worried about him, that he would be just fine-- "women love him" she said!
My dad is honest and compassionate. Through his example (and my mom's), we grew up without any racial prejudices and learned to be open to ideas. We were raised with respect for (rather than a fear of) the unknown. I remember a time when I was going through a particularly difficult relationship break-up. When I called home (I was in California and he in Rhode Island), he would listen to me with empathy. I felt truly loved and heard.
Thank you, Dad. I love you.