Starting his 69th year…

Today it’s my father’s birthday!  (I’m pretty sure it’s also the 15th in America as I post this.)  As you can see by the title, my dad is old.  My parents started popping out babies late.  But that’s okay.

My dad is what one might call “a character.”

Daughter say what?

As are most old people who don’t have much else to think about but the “good old days” when life was simple even though they had to walk nine hours in the snow every morning to get to school (also: no shoes), my father is interested in politics.  He likes to rant and rave.  And often does so to his wife, who is polite enough to listen.  (Dad: Tell mom you love her.  :P)  He also tries this with me.  The thing about this ranting and raving is that my mother and I generally agree with my dad.  So he’s kinda preaching to the choir.  But!  The nice thing about my dad’s ranting and raving is that 1) he’s informed, not spouting something from Fox News, and 2) he generally thinks of solvency mechanisms too.

Despite this seriousness, my father also has a, shall we say, interesting sense of humor.  In one word: puns.   In two words: bad jokes.  In three words: he entertains himself.

I am ashamed to admit that I inherited his sense of humor.  (Thanks dad.)

He also sometimes forgets my name.  This was a common phrase in my household growing up: “Sarah–I mean Anna–I mean Katharine, if you want to do that, go ask your mother.”  I guess having three daughters takes its toll.

He's kinda a practical joker.

Despite all this (or perhaps because of it), I definitely love the old softy.  (He is, literally, quite squishy.  Just ask the cats that often perch/sleep/groom on him.)  He rants and raves about politics because he has a solid, immovable sense of venerable principles and morals.  He has an odd sense of humor because he can laugh about pretty much anything, and really, people often take things way too seriously in my opinion.  And he may forget which daughter I am, but at least he’s willing to admit that he makes such mistakes.  (Whether he’s willing to admit making other mistakes, however…)

I appreciate my dad a lot, too, because he’s made me financially responsible (ish).  Whenever I want to spend money, his voice is in my head saying lots of “I’m disappointed in you” or “Do you really need this junk?” or “Clutter!  SO MUCH CLUTTER”, etc.  It’s because of him and his constant haranguing that I’m obsessed with paying off my student loans ASAP, and he’s also the reason that I refuse to have more than one credit card.  He’s my go-to dude when I have random questions about 401Ks or mortgages or the stock market, and he’s always willing to explain in a way that I’ll understand.

Finally, I love my dad because he has always, always encouraged–nay, browbeat–me into performing at my best.  When I brought home a “B” on a report card, he would waggle his finger at me and say, “This should be an “A,” daughter.”  When I said I wanted to go to China to study abroad, he said, “I’ll miss you, but fine.  As long as you pay for it.”  When I forwent Georgetown Law School to stay in Japan, he sighed, grumbled, and then grudgingly accepted it.  He constantly demands me to improve as a person, and that is motivation that I appreciate.  As I’m a lazy son of a gun.

Dad: lots of love on your 68th birthday.

PS: pretty sure I’m never gonna move back to America.  Sorry!  Love ya!