Where we are born -- the country and circumstances - is not unlike a lottery. And I was fortunate to come out on the winning end. I live in what I believe to be one of the safest, most beautiful, and socially conscious countries there is. It is also so with the family that I was born into .... I was raised in a noisy, often chaotic - but always exciting- household brimming with hospitality and unconditional love.
If my mother was our emotional centre, our father was our guiding light. He cut an imposing figure, but we never saw a violent bone in his body. He was demanding at times, expecting us to meet the highest of standards in our education and anything else we did. And somehow, knowing that he believed that we could "do it", made us believe it too. We watched him try everything -- sports, politics, leadership, hobbies - and excel at everything he tried. Big shoes to fill and steps to follow in.
He prepared us well though... and even though he was borderline overprotective in some ways (our dating habits), in others he would simply give us the directives, warn us of the outcomes that would result in us not following them ("if you don't keep the snow machine exactly in tracks I make, you could fall into open water, and risk your life"), and then trust us to follow them. That was how he instilled confidence and caution into each one of us. He burdened us with responsibilities that at times, tested our limits, but then, voila - we handled them!
So today on his birthday, I will do what I always do -- say thank you Dad for being the very best; and to be grateful for winning the family lottery. I have wealth beyond belief.