There is so much to be grateful for when it comes to my dad. Like I have said before, I've been blessed with an amazing family, and my dad is no exception. While my cousin, Britt Jorunn, taught me how to read, it was my dad who taught me to love books. Every night he would read for my sister Elin and me. He would take us all across Scandinavian children's literature, and we have some spectacular authors both in Norway and Sweden. He also let me "graduate" to adult fiction with the books HMS Ulysses by Alistair MacLean and Døden På Asylet (Death At The Asylum - or Puzzle For Fools, as the original title was) by Quentin Patrick. His book collection was wide ranging in taste, but he did pass on a love for mysteries that still is going strong. Thanks to him, I am on my fourth book by Lars Kepler in four days this Christmas break.
He was also the my private chauffeur throughout most of my teenage years - until I got my license at 18 (which is when you can get it in Norway). That meant calls from me at all hours of the night - including when he was getting ready for work, asking if he could pick up me and a friend or two at one friend's house and drop us off at another friend's house (which was just a couple of minutes' drive from his work - and the place we were at was also along a possible route to his work). I cannot say how grateful I am that he hardly ever told me no - not even after I missed the last bus home on occasion (probably more often that I'd like to admit).
And then he turned me on to Legos. Not just once, but twice. Once in childhood - he used to take me to get my hair cut, as he loved rewarding me (or himself) with either a jigsaw puzzle or Legos. And then he came to visit here on year, talking about an old fashioned fire station. He helped me discover the Creator series - rated for expert builders ages 16 and up. After getting me the Paradise Cinema for my birthday one year, I was hooked again - and now it is a slight obsession.
But now, as I supposedly am an adult, he is also my friend. Yes, I still lean on him (and my mother) for support, but what's more important to me is the very close relationship we have - despite the fact that my calls home are less frequent than they should be - and often after he is in bed. Americans often look at me strangely when I tell them that my parents didn't tell me they loved me as a child or when I was growing up - but the truth is they didn't have to. I never doubted it. Not once. And if I had any doubts (which I didn't), they would have evaporated during my toughest years - the years I thought that ending it all would be the best thing to do. My parents gave me life not just at birth, but also in my early to mid twenties - and my dad was very much there. When I moved to Bergen in the middle of it all, he would go there for work and make sure that he spent time with me - much like he used to come home and play with us before going back into work again as kids - only this time, he would take me out with his colleagues, including one who also suffered from depression. Through hearing about his struggles and seeing that he still could be a part of things, it was possible to see that it could work, even though it certainly didn't feel like it.
So that's the kind of man my dad is. That's the kind of man I aspire to be - although I have stopped wanting to be him. And I love him, even though I don't say that either. But today, as he turns 67, it seems to be very appropriate. And since he loves The Rolling Stones, I thought I'd play one of MY favorites from one of the two Stones albums in his collection, an album called Out Of Our Heads (the US album title was December's Children), here is She Said Yeah, a raucous and raggedy rocker that I can't get enough of. Gratulerer med dagen, kjære pappa!