Happy Father’s Day to the parent that, in my case, taught me how to laugh.

Mostly at myself.

In truth, it’s the gift that keeps on giving, especially during such extraordinary times.

Dads are multi-faceted, multi-talented humans that influence so much of who we become.

My dad was a scrappy, quick-tempered man who was simultaneously generous with those he loved and mercurial in his trust with those outside the family circle.

He also had an uncanny ability to laugh at himself and the world around him. Loudly.

It’s from my dad that I got my unbridled (sometimes annoying), multi-octave laugh. (to all my friends, you’re welcome!)

If my mom was the element of water, quietly flowing to push, shape and mold her children, Dad was the high-powered wind, occasionally a sandstorm, that toppled you over with tough love. Dad gave it to us straight, sometimes with a sting.

What I ultimately did learn and embrace from Dad was discipline, focus, and perseverance.

Discipline to work each day to get better or closer to what you wanted to achieve.

Focus to shut out distraction from pursuing that achievement.

Perseverance to understand that there will be hurdles and detours. That doesn’t mean you quit if it’s important to you.

Then that thing about how to laugh at myself.

Life being full of ironies, challenges, and “cartoon falls” (in my case) reminds me that despite all the planning we do, so much of life is determined by how we manage the surprises.

When I was recovering from an appendectomy while at home from college, Dad started telling jokes at the dinner table. (Dad loved an audience). The expression “it only hurts when I laugh” is completely on-point here. After tumbling out to leave the table in pain, Mom got Dad to stop the “show”. In a couple days, when I was walking more upright and not hunched to protect my belly, I realized it was the best medicine ever!

Thanks Dad. For Everything.

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