Today is my Papa's birthday, which gives me a great opportunity to reminisce about how lucky I am.
In some ways, my Dad is a bit of an odd one. You don't meet a lot of dentists-turned-astrologers, after all. Not too many Dads go shopping with their daughters for pendulums. Or listen to them talk ad nauseum about boys and career woes and Life's Big Questions, etc.
From my Dad, I think I get my interest in people, in the Self, in tolerance of others who may be wildly different than I am. I think that was a great lesson to have early on. In fact, both of my parents taught me that, in different ways.
My Dad and I are both the eldest of three kids, with some of the classic traits that go along with that role: we're both relatively "serious" in many ways, perhaps occasionally a little socially awkward, but with a silly streak.
For example, for many, many years now, my Dad has been doing this thing where he will spontaneously sing a song about "Le Petit Oiseau" ("The Little Bird") and various things that rhyme with that, like the French words for bicycle, back, pot, and funny. It's not an actual song, mind you: it's just something that came to him, and that he never, ever got rid of. He does it to different melodies, in different languages, at different times, without prompting. If your cell phone went off in his presence, he legitimately might sing a few bars to whatever tune you've got is set to. I think I once came home to him singing about a little bird, in German, to the tune of "The ants go marching one by one." I loved it. It's a long-standing joke with my siblings about where that even came from, and i wonder sometimes if when I'm older I'll pick up a similarly ridiculous habit. (My money's on yes.)
Beyond the silly stories and good conversations, every little girl probably grows up thinking she has the Best Daddy in the World, but how many 35-year olds still think that? I think that's what makes me especially lucky.
When my Dad came to visit me in London back in May, we wandered all over the city, and in various places, I attempted to get a halfway decent selfie of us together. We failed at this horribly. Squinting, grimacing, blurry, staring into the distance...we did it all.
Perhaps that's one more thing I get from him. I can live with that.
Joyeux anniversaire, Papa.