No seriously, I have the best dad ever. For me.
I used to butt heads with him a lot, and still do from time to time, but there are soooo many ways I respect the man I call "Daddy".
He is far from perfect. But I can't describe adequately how perfectly he taught me.
My dad was never the super-spiritual teaching type. He taught by example. He had us up every morning for scripture study even though we all complained, and I am sure it was not the easiest thing for him to do either. But he did it.
He joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as a young man, and has continued to learn and grow and develop an amazing testimony of The Atonement. How grateful I am that he made that choice 30 something years ago, so that I can have this wonderful Gospel in my life. My family was sealed on my 3rd birthday, and it is something I will never forget. I thought my whole life that I made up the images from that day in my head, until my first time in a sealing room, which happened to be the same room we were sealed in. It was exactly what I remembered as a 3 year old.
He took me hunting with him, even though he knew that would mean he wouldn't get anything that trip ;) (i had a plan, see, if Bambi heard me talking, he would be able to run and get away)!!!
But he did this with all of us, to spend time with us. Because we are important to him.
My dad always worked hard, and taught us the value of work. And after he worked hard all day to provide for our family, he came home and did the best possible thing you can do as a parent. He spent time with us. He was in the back yard, teaching us to throw, pitch, catch, shoot, or kick a ball pretty much every night. How he had time for that, as a parent myself, I will never know. He also coached many a little league team.
He served in the Young Mens for a long time, and those boys loved him.
He knows so much about cars, that when I got into high school and boys were driving old classic cars they were restoring themselves, they would often stop by my house.... to see if my dad was there ;) I didn't love that.
My dad makes me feel safe. He has always been there for me and taught me how to be a strong, independent woman. I never knew how much I would rely on these life lessons until the last couple of years. He always paid his tithing, first, and he made sure we knew that he did that, and that was why we were blessed with what we had, even when we didn't think it was much. I gained my testimony of tithing from him, and if not for that example, when things got hard, it would have been easy to not pay it. But I know what I know, thanks to him.
He is a great Grandpa to my babies. He loves them and they know it.
He honors his Priesthood, and I feel so priviledged that I can (and do) ask for a blessing at any given time, and he is ready to do it. He probably thought he wouldn't be giving father's blessings so much at this time in his life, but I've grown to depend on them more as a "grown up" than at any other time in my life. I've always thought of myself as independent and strong, and never really needed anything from anyone. But now I know how much I do need my parents, and what a comfort it is to know that they are always there for me, holding me up, believing in me, supporting me and loving me when times get tough.
I really don't know if I can do justice describing in words the great man that is my father. All I know is that I am extremely lucky to have him and his example in this world. He truly is a great man, and I look at my brothers, with all their imperfections, and see the great men they have turned into because of his example. He didn't do everything right, but he did the best he could, and it was enough.
Happy Birthday, Dad!!! I love you!
PS- I had to add that my dad and brothers are not perfect, lest they get big heads ;)