If you've ever heard me laugh one short loud laugh from my gut, you've heard my dad laugh (except my voice is considerably higher).
If you've seen me making friendly conversation with strangers in line, you've seen my dad socializing.
If you've ever watched me working on a project, and seen me go oh so carefully, and get really frustrated with tiny mistakes that you can't see but that I can't seem to see past, you've been watching my dad work.
When I'm talking about something important and my eyes well up, and my voice gets all intense and wobbly, that's my dad talking, too.
You know how sometimes I can tell a story (even about something boring, like doing the laundry) and people listen like I'm the only one in the room? I get that from my dad.
When I spend an afternoon reading wikipedia articles, it's only because I grew up watching my dad read the encyclopedia (or Caesar and Christ, or 2201 Fascinating Facts).
And if you've watched me jump into a technical conversation about something you didn't know I knew anything about and hold forth as if I'd studied it in college, you've seen my dad sharing his encyclopedic knowledge.
If I know how to learn everything I can from a situation, embracing the hurt as well as the healing, I'm only doing what my dad does.
And if I've ever faced a crisis with a clear head and a generous heart, it's because I've seen my dad pull together and do what needed to be done time after time after time.
I love my dad like I love myself. Because, in many ways, he is very like myself--or, I am like him. That's the best gift he ever gave me, I think.
So happy birthday, Dad. And thanks ever so much for my present. I could not ask for better!