Was thinking about this the other day. When I was logging in to a new online bank account, I was asked the following security question: "Best Childhood Friend?" And while most people who knew me back then would probably think they knew the answer to that question, I realized they probably didn't, because - and I just realized it right then - even though I had several good friends back then, my best friend was really my dad.
I can't remember him EVER saying, "No," when I asked if he wanted to go play tennis or golf, and most of the time, if he was going, he would ask me to go. For as long as I was in scouts, he was there, and for awhile, he was our scoutmaster (I know, Mom, that you were there more in cub scouts). When he had some new computer program or some new crazy invention that he was busting to tell someone about, he came to me. We would spend hours listening to people talk about how to build a better airplane every summer (I was usually the youngest person there, and I didn't really care all that much, just liked being there with my dad), and he taught me how to do about 1,000 random things, most of which I remember to this day.
So, yeah, until I met my wife and had my kids, my dad was my very best friend. He's still up there somewhere, friend-wise, but life and work have put distance between us. Things change and life intervenes, but I just want you to know, Dad, that all of that mattered. Because you so valued me during those early years, I have always had a pretty healthy self-image, and I only hope I was half the father and half the friend to my kids that you were to me. I love you. Happy Birthday.