Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Dad

FLORIDA AND ILLINOIS - (He lives in both.) My dad is a unique character. Growing up, his school bus would pass a gentleman every day that he considered "wild" – big, fluffy hair and no shoes in the winter. He liked that old gentleman, though, and would always give him a friendly wave. "Hello, Mr. Einstein", he would say. Yep, that Mr. Einstein. I didn't learn about this particular connection until I was well into my 20s. Dad, why would you not have told me this before? It’s so cool! Because, he said, it shouldn’t matter what someone’s name is, or what they do. You should just like them for who they are.

The first time I encountered racism in the workplace (a co-worker was anti-Semitic), he was the one I called, angry and frustrated. Why would anyone say such a thing? It's so hateful, I just don’t understand! Because, he said, they just are uneducated. If you take the time to learn about another culture, you can appreciate them. You don’t have to agree, you don’t have to support, but you at least will be wise enough to understand what is happening in the world. Never stand back and let someone be maligned if you can at all help it, he taught me.

When I was a child, he read me "Les Miserables" – one chapter per night. When we got to the part that found Jean Valjean stealing the silver candlesticks, I cried. Please PLEASE read just one more chapter, I need to know what happens!! Nope, he said. One chapter per night. Even though he read these kinds of books to his children, he still professed to be a simple man with a simple life.

When my mom got breast cancer, he became another man entirely. Formerly stoic and reserved, strict and old-fashioned (by that I mean 1700s Germany kind of old fashioned :) he became a man who realized that if you love someone, you had better tell them. Pronto. As she began to slip slowly from us, during all of that horrible time, his open affection for his children grew. I often felt that she bestowed that to him in her passing. She was always the one who said the sweet stuff, the one who acted is if just seeing our faces was a special surprise, even if we had just come in from playing outside. She was our light, our constant warm hug. So, now Dad had to assume that mantle, and to be honest, I would have never guessed that he would have tried. But he did. Now, every phone call ends with not only an "I love you" but also a big "Hey, I'm proud of you, honey." Really, Dad? I haven't done anything, just called to say hi. "Proud nonetheless," he says. And I, you, Dad. Thanks for learning to be the one that says those sweet words. Mama would be proud of you. xoxo

4 comments:

林奕廷 said...

果然很有意思呀....這當然要頂一頂呀.................................................................

木堯木堯 said...

生存乃是不斷地在內心與靈魂交戰;寫作是坐著審判自己。......................................................................

佩春 said...

一個人的價值,應該看他貢獻了什麼,而不是他取得了什麼.................................................................

麗珠麗珠麗珠 said...

幸福不是一切,人還有責任。............................................................