Since I posted a day-late post about my mom for Mother’s Day, you know I’m going to do the same for my dad. Using a similarly out-of-date Christmas photo.

My dad is one of the strongest-willed people I know, and I take after him in almost every way (in terms of personality). This is the reason that we were at odds through most of my life, but I get along with him better than ever now, and I wouldn’t trade my dad (or Pops as I call him for no particular reason) for any other.

He taught me it’s okay to speak up when you know you’re in the right (or when someone else is in the wrong), to do things your way despite the nay-sayers and to live your life how you want it to be and not how others expect it to be. Because of my dad I am willing to go my own way, never rely on or take too seriously the opinions of others, and see social niceties and events for what they are–optional (and really really boring and unnecessary).

He’s the reason I will always be early and be impatient with those who aren’t. He’s the reason I keep everything in its place and value and respect cars. He’s the reason I won’t date until I’m 30 (okay, I’ve broken that rule–but don’t think I don’t see the wisdom behind it). He is my inspiration for staying active and for doing the things that are important to me.

So Dear Pops: I’m glad we now have the relationship that we do. You have shaped so much of who I am, even if I fought so hard against it in the past. You are one cool softball playing, motorcycle riding, independent thinking and acting, habit and schedule-forming old dude. And as soon as I get some hand-eye coordination and a vehicle with two wheels, well, I’ll be just like you. And I am more than okay with that.