Happy Birthday, Dad!

Today is my Dad’s birthday.

My Dad is unlike any other father I’ve ever met. He’s not the sports-loving, golf playing, grill mastering, and power tools enthusiast type. This is why I admire him.  He’s unique. 

2010 Visit to Seoul, South Korea
When I was in elementary school, my Dad attended an East Asian painting exhibit at the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, Virginia. This style of art is called Sumi-e, or Chinese Brush Painting. Dad fell in love with this style and began taking art lessons with a renowned local artist, Professor I-Hsiung Ju. 
Professor Ju
In the meantime, my dad taught himself how to speak and write Mandarin Chinese and Japanese, and mastered the art of Sumi-e. He’s since participated in many art exhibits, even one as far as Seoul, South Korea. He also teaches one-on-one painting courses for adults and group sessions for children.

2010 Art Exhibit in South Korea
My Dad specializes in calligraphy, landscapes, flowers, bamboo, and animal portraits.  He won an award from the Sumi-e Society of America for the tiger below. 
My Dad loves all things Asian — the food, the culture, the places, and the people.  He’s traveled to South Korea, Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam so far, and China is next on his list.

2010 Visit to Thailand
You probably wouldn’t have guessed it, but my Dad is a former Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Washington Redskins under Jack Pardee. He also won two Washington Metro Area Powerlifting Championships. He is now a part-time personal trainer at a sport and health club.

2010 Visit to Kyoto, Japan

My Dad’s a really mellow guy.  He’s a big Japanese film buff, with his favorite movie director being Akira Kurosawa and his favorite actor as Toshiro Mifune. He also enjoys hiking, bicycling, reading, and putzing around on his laptop.  Despite being a personal trainer, he is a closet-Girl-Scout-cookie-eater.

2010 Visit to Kyoto, Japan
Growing up, I thought my dad was the coolest.  He was a Stay-at-Home-Dad to my brother and I, and spent the summers taking us to national parks, playing catch with us in our side yard, and letting us be the kids that we were and run a muck through our neighborhood.  I had a million nicknames for him (the one that stuck, strangely enough, was Boney).  He endured my Jurassic Park, Beauty and the Beast, and ER marathons with much dignity and grace.  My friends loved him, and enthusiastically shouted, “Hey, Boney!” every time they visited.
One of my favorite memories of my Dad is when he, my brother, and I would go for afternoon bike rides on a local trail. We’d only go about five miles each way on this trail, but it always felt much longer on my training wheels. Our route ended at a quaint general store a few town’s away.  Dad bought us ice cream and lemonade, which we devoured within three minutes, and then we headed back home, triumphant that we returned from our little journey.
© Jonathan Taylor Photography

My Dad and I had a bit of a falling out within the past couple of years for a lot of long, complicated reasons.  I’ve since forgiven him for a multitude of things, and we make an effort to be in each other’s lives again.  I just hope that he can, in time, forgive me for certain things that I’ve done and said.

© Jonathan Taylor Photography
I am very fortunate to have such a great Dad.  Sure, we’ve had our differences, but for the most part, he’s always been the leading male figure in my life and a positive role model.  I’m proud to call him my Dad, and wouldn’t want it any other way.
Dad, I hope you have a fun, relaxing, and enjoyable birthday today, and I can’t wait to see you soon!  Love you!

2 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Dad!”

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