Happy birthday Papa

40 years ago you turned 23. And three days later you became my father.

At your age I was debating whether to become a journalist, a banker or go to the 10 pm show of some god-awful movie playing at the Notting Hill cinema. While you were responsible and worked all day at 23, I studied, but mainly had fun at 23.  You fed me when you were 23, while I fretted over how to lose three kilos before I turned 23. You were a man at 23, and at 46 you trusted that your silly 23 year-old daughter would one day grow up too.

You are also the man who took me out to a nice lunch after I crashed my new mini, who took us to see the giant heads on Easter Island and penguins in Antarctica, who bought frites and beignets and ride tickets with abandon when we went to fairs, and the man who spent hours in the many pools we’ve been in, getting us to dive deeper and faster the find the shiny coin. You are the man who devised games to teach us the world’s currencies. You let me cry on your shoulder after King Kong died, and wore the tear stained suede jacket for years. You took us with you all over the world, and with mom you made us feel at home, wherever we were.

I inherited from you the ability to read maps, a preference for dark chocolate, a love of big strong hugs, the appreciation for Italian opera, and a certain nerdy need for contingency planning in all things (plan Bs are very important). I did not inherit your ability to wake up at 6am for a game of tennis.

Today you turn 63, and right now you are on a flight from the Caribbean where you’ve been scuba-diving, to my northwestern airport. You are a 63 year-old scuba-diving history buff who is hurrying back to work on Monday because he’s still at the top of his professional game.

You are a rock star Papa. There are not enough sharks in the water, cigars in Cuba or chocolates in the world to reward you for all you have done, and even if there were, I am quite sure you wouldn’t care as much about that as you would about us.

merci pour tout papa, et bon anniversaire.

de ta fille qui t’aime,


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