A toast to my dad

A toast to my dad

My dad was born in a small town called Akhalkalaki, Georgia in 1949. At that time, Georgia was a part of the Soviet Union. My dad moved to the town of Gori when he was five and moved to Moscow when he was 10. He hadn't been back to Georgia in 60 years.

This year, for his 70th birthday, he organized a trip back to his birth country. Over the past week, my parents gathered close friends and relatives in Tbilisi. Some of the guests were native Georgians, living in Tbilisi. Others came from Sochi, Singapore, Israel and the US. I got the distinction for most miles traveled, coming from California.

As is the norm for an occasion such as a momentous birthday, speeches were giving by most in attendance. Russians traditionally come ready with witty custom written poems. Most read them to the audience, always with great emotion. One of the guests also wrote and performed a song. Admittedly, I'm not nearly as talented, but I wanted to memorialize the toast I gave for my dad's 70th birthday!

I can tell you a lot about my dad. He’s kind and he’s sensitive. He’s smart and he’s curious. He loves to share good stories with great friends while enjoying quality food and some wine. Well, okay, with LOTS of wine.

But you know that already.

Instead, I want to take the occasion of my dad’s 70th birthday to thank him.

Thank you dad. Thank you for being a role model as father. As a husband. As a businessman. And as a human. Thank you for always being there for me. Thank you for sharing and teaching me important life lessons.

You may not know this, but I’ll always remember how you pushed me to be the best. You told me you didn’t care what I was the best at, but that I should pick something and be the best at it. You gave me examples. Perhaps I could be the most knowledgeable stamp collector in my school, city or even state. For those of you wondering, that never happened! You told me about your own desire to be the best doctor at whatever level made sense. And you were the best doctor. More specifically, you were the best neonatologist. In our house. And thanks to mom, you were also undoubtedly the best male doctor, in our house!

The life lesson to be the best has stayed with me. And when I get complacent in whatever I’m doing, I think back to being the best and I get reinvigorated to do more. I don’t know if I will ever truly be the best at anything - but it’s more about the journey to get there than the destination.

The last time I said a public toast for you was 20 years ago when you turned 50. Since then, we’ve done so much.
Dad - thank you for allowing me to go on your journeys with you and for joining in mine. I’m looking forward to toasting you again in 20 years, at your 90th, and to sharing in more adventures from now to then. Jokes aside, you are the best. I love you.

Please join me in wishing my dad a very happy and healthy 70th!
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I’m heading back home today, while my parents continue their travels through Georgia. Happy birthday dad!

Selling to those that want to buy

Selling to those that want to buy