So it’s my Dad’s birthday. And as my long time friends know, my journey with my Dad to this stage has had massive ups and downs, as it usually does with 2 obnoxious/amazing first borns that always think that they are right.
But at the end of the day, he’s a pretty rad guy and someone that I’ve come to appreciate more and more as I have gotten older, so without further ado (besides this pic that shows everything that was amazing about soccer in the 80’s), here is a birthday blog for the coolest guy I know.
64 Reasons Why I’m Lucky He’s My Dad.
- For believing in me as a kid and instilling in me the belief that I can do anything I put my mind to.
- He’s always done things outside the box, as an example lived in Zambia, Africa with my Mom for 2 years before I was born
- Took a risk and travelled to Vancouver away from his friends and family in Ireland where him and my Mum grew up, and decided to lay down roots in one of the coolest cities in the world
- Taught me how to read when I was little, so I was a mini celebrity with all my friends older siblings when they showed their friends I could read as a four year old.
- Always set a very high standard for me in school and made getting a bad grade not an acceptable option
- Went above the call of duty helping me with school projects, and set a standard in me in school (and everything else) to demand of myself and strive for excellence
- Treated me like an adult from a young age and introduced me to thinkers like Brian Tracy when I was a 12 year old
- Took on all sorts of house renovations on his own that usually ate up most of his spare time to make things nicer for our family
- Volunteered to coach my soccer team when no one else would when I was a little kid and ended up being my coach for my first 7 years
- Also did the same for my brother and his friends
- Signed me up for every activity as a kid unquestioningly, from field hockey to boys baseball, to springboard diving, piano and track.
- Always tries to see the good in people even those that wrong him.
- Always did anything he could to help me be successful in whatever it was I wanted to do
- Always gave me an honest evaluation after my soccer games (and only when I asked).
- When I went through an awful anxiety period when I was 14, looked up and organized a counsellor for me to go and see that helped me get through it
- Always gave me a hug and made me feel loved as a kid (and as an adult)
- Battled through his own anxiety and depression when I was a kid, without me ever remembering anything amiss.
- Always stood up and did the right thing, and spoke up when things weren’t right, even if he didn’t have power and had consequences for doing so.
- Took us on camping trips as a kid and spent time with us, that still are some of my fondest childhood memories
- Taught me to not spend money when it wasn’t necessary and not get caught up wasting my money on the latest fads.
- Showed his dedication to financial austerity when we newspapered our van windows and slept in the parking lot at a tournament in the US in one of my funnier soccer adventures with him, instead of “wasting money” at a hotel.
- Drove me and my brother all over the province to all kinds of games and tournaments, never complaining at all
- His Mom died when he was 3 and he took care and looked out for his brothers growing up.
- He managed to tell off the wrong girl at a dance for ditching him the week before (next question, how would he not know who was the girl that ditched him?) and lucky for him that wrong girl ended up being my Mom
- Gave up work opportunities so he could spend more time with myself and my brother
- Knew when to lay off with imposing his high standards, when he pronounced when I went into high school that he had done everything he could to show the importance of doing well in school, but that it was now up to me.
- In doing that, he motivated me, by allowing me to take ownership over my life, and take pride in choosing to use the hard working values that he had taught me.
- Carried on like a champ when my Mum got diagnosed with MS
- Told me one time when he was upset about how an acquaintance had said something about how he would leave his wife if she had a disability, and showed me the true meaning of loyalty and integrity when he told me how upset and disgusted he was at the suggestion
- Has showed me what true love and commitment look like through his dedication and selflessness towards my Mum.
- Treating my Mum like she doesn’t have a disability as he finds trips and activities that carry them around the world doing more than most able bodied people do.
- Because he tried to dye his hair black to cover the grey when we were kids and I’ll never forget laughing so hard as he was calling the Miss Clairol helpline when it turned his hair red.
- Always taking an interest in helping me be the best I could be at sports, doing things like buying me books about being in the right mental zone, when I was struggling with my focus in my short-lived competitive springboard diving career.
- Knowing how to motivate me when I was a kid, telling me that the assistant coach of my club team had told him that he didn’t think I’d make the area select team for club, thus sending me outside for hours practicing to prove him wrong
- Teaching me that hard work is the only way to accomplish things
- Teaching me that nothing is worth achieving if you don’t do it with integrity
- Despite my Mum getting all the credit for how great and positive she is (which she deserves), never acting resentful or desiring attention for how equally amazingly he has handled her illness
- Always encouraging me and supporting me with my crazy ideas from when I was a kid (like the time I was intent on building a treehouse in the backyard and got all the neighborhood kids on board)
- Always taught me to take action to get something I wanted, like the time I couldn’t get into the HS I wanted to, and he helped me put together a petition that I canvassed the whole neighborhood with (about why our area should be in the HS) and how me and my 3 friends got into the HS because of it
- Going out of his way to help people if he felt strongly about something
- Setting an example to stand up for myself and for those around me and challenge things when they aren’t right.
- Being so involved helping me with the college process when he knew it was my goal, that he ended up collecting enough information to write a book and still be spending his free time helping a lot of people who had a similar dream, years after I had graduated from college
- His quirkiness/penchant for writing long notes and leaving them around when I did something that pissed him off (leaving the lights on when I left a room, not opening the bathroom window when I took a shower, forgetting to close the bathroom window after I took a shower, leaving the front door open when I went outside to get something, slamming the door when I left the house, being wasteful with tea bags, not folding the dish towels properly…um, I could go on, but you get it. I know you get it.) that gave my friends and I a good chuckle throughout the years
- Teaching me that death isn’t something to be feared and life is to be lived and enjoyed in the minute when he reacted to a death by saying “we all are going to have to go sometime”
- Challenging my choice to continue to play soccer after college, and helping me realize, that we always have to make ourselves happy and do what we are passionate about, no matter the pressure we are getting from others.
- Having the guts and humility to admit years later that he was wrong for giving me such a hard time about my choice to continue playing soccer
- Teaching me how to be practical and to make things like getting travel insurance be a priority
- Making me be responsible and independent by making it clear that once I hit college that I was on my own and financially cutting strings when I was 19.
- Teaching me to think ahead and be strategic
- For being the smartest, most hard working person that I know.
- When I was at my lowest point with soccer in college and started questioning my ability to play at the highest level, would send me poems like this one called “Don’t Quit”, always be a source of belief in me, and sent me messages and books and was a constant source of encouragement to keep going.
- For doing things on his own, like going to the movies, and teaching me to not care what other people think.
- For teaching me strong, practical financial principles like avoiding debt at all costs, paying off his mortgage early, and driving a 15 year old car because it still works and there’s no reason to get another one.
- For teaching me the importance of friendship, by always making a point to see and socialize with my parent’s great group of friends
- For teaching me to look for the positive in every situation
- For having the courage to deal with a rough childhood, and be vulnerable, open and real in a way that most men in their 60’s would never be
- For always making me feel loved and that I have a safety net to go to with any problem that I have
- For being open minded despite growing up in a very regimented Catholic environment
- For following his passion with video editing and teaching me its never too late to pursue something you enjoy
- For teaching me that its not about the hand of cards you’re played, but how you play that hand.
- For being the most organized person I know, and giving me a catalogue of photos and videos through my whole childhood that I’m able to look over and smile back on
- For being the kind of person that I want to be a credit to.
- For teaching me to look at the big picture of someone’s background and to understand people better for the way that they are.
- For being my go-to when I need help in any situation and being the best Dad that anybody could ever ask for.
Happy Bday Big Guy!! 🙂
I’ve just read an amazing tribute to a dad who happens to be my brother and it reminded me that 1/ I forgot his birthday, 2. I thought he was much younger, 3. I never knew my brother was once red haired, 4. I never knew, sorry Ciara, he had such a perceptive and grateful daughter.
However I did know that he has been an amazingly good and kind older brother (despite a lot of complications in our family , let’s gloss it over on this occasion!) and that he did a wonderful job as a young boy when my parents were not so wonderful as parents. I forgive them but I thank him most sincerely and publicly. Well done Bar. I knew a lot of the rest and I have learned over last few years that Ciara can write as well , if not better, than play soccer but that was one helluva good and deserved tribute. Well done to the birthday boy (I’ll email him greetings belatedly and shamefacedly, except my brothers often, nay almost always, forget my birthday too, it’s a boys thing) and to his daughter for noticing and remembering and recording all those 64 little miracles.
thanks for a nice surprise,
love to all,