Dad, remember that time when you took me to a big parking lot and you taught me how to drive a stick shift with that old black Honda? I must have stalled that engine so many times. I was embarrassed, but I think you found it all pretty funny.
Do you remember that one night when we saw an aurora, and you grabbed your camera and we stayed up late into the night playing around with the long-exposure settings? Ever since then, I've paid close attention to spaceweather.com; you got me hooked.
And do you remember that time that I stepped on a nail? I know that freaked you out pretty bad, but you kept pretty calm and that helped a lot. I also remember how surprised and happy I was when you came back with a couple Game Boys and Mario Kart to play in the Clinic while I waited for the doctor.
And how about when you helped me make that picture of me pretending to be Harry Potter flying on a broom in camo pajamas? Such a simple Photoshop job, but it meant the world to me then. And when I got to be the guy with the camera flash while you pretended to be Mr. Ollivander at Leif's birthday party? The little kids' gasps were so fun to hear.
Do you remember when you helped me be baptized? I don't remember much, but I do remember how good I felt. I also remember how much you and mom taught me and encouraged me to study out the gospel. I am so grateful for this early example you set for me.
Do you remember when you ordained me to the Priesthood? And how about when we started Home Teaching together? You instilled in me a love for service and building up the kingdom of God. I was sad when I received a new assignment and our companionship was split. I loved working with my new companion, but I missed working together with my dad.
Remember when you drove me around on my first date? Yeah, I should have gotten my Eagle rank earlier, I know, but I'm still grateful you drove me around anyway. I was so awkward, I had no idea what to say to the girl, but you kept your cool and struck up conversation with her. You really saved my behind back there.
I remember the last time I saw you before I left. I think I was a little overwhelmed. I knew how excited you were for me. You knew very well what lay ahead, and what this journey would do for me. But looking back, I was a little afraid. Afraid of the unknown. But the thing that really kept me going was, well, a vision of the man I could become. I saw that man in you. I hoped I could be like that. And I knew the path lay ahead of me, on a small island on the other side of the world.
I come back in a few weeks. I don't know if I've really changed much. I am still far from the man I want to be. But I hope that your dreams for me have been realized. I could send you toys, trinkets, or treats for this Father's Day. But I think the best gift I can send you is your dreams turned to reality. I hope the person you see coming back through the airplane terminal is a little more grown up than the boy you sent off. That is my gift to you.
I love you Dad. I am so excited to go Chinese restaurant hopping with you when I get home.