Happy Birthday Dad

When I turned 18 my dad wrote me a letter. He gave it to me at a big dinner at a nice restaurant with my whole family and a couple of friends. I, of course, cried.

Today is my dad’s 52nd birthday. I’m not nearly as eloquent as my dad, not by a long shot, but I have a couple of things that I wanted to say.

 There are a million reasons I lucked out in the family department, but a major one is the fact that I someone have a dad who is loving and caring and smart and sensible and even (occasionally) funny.

My dad loves and cares more deeply than just about anyone I know. And trust me, it takes a lot of love and care to deal with the nonstop crazy that is having me as a kid. But he doesn't just care profusely about his family, he cares for everyone, and I really admire that.

So much of what my dad has done professionally has been striving to make the world a better place for everyone in it. Fighting for equal rights and immigration reform, focusing on legislation and on the people that the legislation effects.

There’s a joke in our house that we have two “teams”. Team pork and team Hebrew school. Team pork is my mom and brother, team Hebrew school is my dad and me. These teams aren’t about fighting or competition, but it’s not hard to notice how the pairs of us are very similar. While my mom and brother are loud and outgoing, my dad and I are more quiet and reserved. Where dad and I are religious, my mom and brother are most definitely not. That’s by no means saying that I’m not my mom’s kid (trust me, I have the attitude to prove it!) or that my brother is unlike my dad (watching them watch soccer together is ridiculous in the funniest way) but it does mean that I always felt very very close to my dad.

My dad is endlessly supportive, for reasons I can’t really comprehend but am immensely grateful for. He loves me when I mess everything up, and when I get everything right. He even loves me when I’m sitting and waiting for class and bored and send him a million stupid text messages. There is no question that I’ve put my parents through a lot these past years, but my dad, more than anyone, has been a constant source of love and support- especially when I feel unlovable.

In that 18th birthday letter my dad wrapped up with some words of advice. They were mostly about transitioning from high school to what came after- growing up, but not giving up on all of the things I loved. I, also, have a couple of tidbits for my dad, not really advice, just some things I want to say, —less wise, I’m sure, but no less heartfelt.

Dad and I, at NFTY convention in LA, just before my 21st birthday

1) I love you very much.
2) I (occasionally) think you are funny, but also think you would be much funnier if you stopped telling the horrible joke where you ask what the dog said.
3) Even though Pandora literally can’t figure out how to combine our musical tastes, I think some of your music is kind of alright. That doesn’t mean I’m gonna spend 3 hour car rides listening to old guys with raspy voices, though. I have SOME standards.
4) I don’t know if you know that I still have the letter you gave me on my 18th birthday. It means a whole lot to me.
5) I love you. I know I said it already, but like humor, this deserves repetition, repetition, repetition.

Happy birthday, dad.

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