Happy Birthday Dad!

My amazing dad turned 80 in January. You would never know that he is 80 unless you looked at his driver's license. He has more energy, wit and vitality than many 50 year olds I know. I have been reflecting a lot on my parents lately, and how they shaped my life and influenced who I am today. To try and capture my dad and his humongous personality and list of accomplishments in one blog post would be impossible. I will make a meek effort here anyway.....He is larger than life and when he enters a room, you can feel it. He radiates charisma and a joie de vivre that is contagious. He will march into room full of his kids with a whistle and a laugh and love on all of us in his unique and expressive teeth gritting, knee grabbing way.  He is one of the most generous people I know, and has helped countless peoplein quiet ways, but ways that make a huge difference to them. He, like my mom can seamlessly move between worlds and honor and connect with the people therein naturally and with ease. His life has been an adventure from the day he could chart his own course.  Thankfully hebrought my 6 other siblings and me along for the ride, and by default taught us all how to create the same in our own lives. Like my mom, he taught us so much just by living his life. "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing" (Helen Keller), should have been his motto. He sure lives that way. Passion fuels everything he does, and although a very practical man, practicality rarely enters the equation of his life's work. He follows his gut and his heart and as a result has painted a beautiful rich tapestry that is his life . My Dad has always followed his dreams, and has encouraged us to do the same. He gets his hands dirty and really learns how to do things. He is a gifted woodworker, amazing painter, talented photographer, and an expert pilot and sailor. His knowledge of the history of this country would stop a person with a PhD in the same subject in their tracks. He is always reading and learning and nothing is done half as*ed. It is a huge inspiration, and at times has been a daunting example to live up to. All of that aside, though, it all goes back to the beginning for me. My most treasured memories with my dad are in the wilderness and on the sea. I spent the first years of my life with him adventuring in the back country of Hawaii, and started sailing with him when I was little. Our shared passion for sailing connects us deeply, but mostly we are connected by a soul thread that we cannot explain. He is a soul mate to me and for that I am so very grateful. My dad taught me how to love fiercely and freely.  I know my dad's heart, and for that I am so grateful, for despite his sometimes tough exterior, he is pure love. Happy Birthday Dad! I love you!