4/22/2009

Happy Birthday Dad


Today is my father's birthday. My Dad is a very complex man. There have been periods of my life when we really didn't understand each other or communicate much but he has always been an all important figure in my life. He is a very macho and hard working guy. He believes in traditional roles and traditional values, which is ironic since only one out of four of his children has really lived that kind of life. I love the picture above because it is a great contrast between my Dad the cowboy and Kai the city boy. I have 3 stories I'd like to share that I think reflect my Dad's different aspects.

The Hardworking Dad: I rode to Chicago with Dad years ago to drop my brother off at college. We got there and immediately turned around and headed home. We stopped around midnight at a cheap hotel. He woke me up at 5:00 A.M. and said it was time to move. I said it's 5:00 A.M. and he said "ya, well all we're doing is laying here."

The Crazy Dad: This story is what is known in my family as the Toilet Paper Caper and it best reflects the insanity of the man. My younger sister moved home for a year in between finishing her undergraduate degree and starting her graduate degree to save some money. For the first 3 months my mother was constantly complaining to my father that they were going through toilet paper so much more quickly. Her quote was "that girl must have the cleanest butt in 3 counties." My father then hatched a plan and started hiding toilet paper. He would take a few rolls each week and stash them in his storage shed so that Mom was buying TP several times a week. This went on for the rest of the year. After my sister moved out he then started bringing out the TP and putting it in the bathroom closet so that there was a constant supply. My mother went for several months without buying any TP and still hadn't made the connection. Finally my Dad told my Uncle who couldn't stand it so he asked my Mom when she had bought TP last and the gig was up. Only my father could carry on such a silly prank for almost a year without telling anyone. If you look at his face in this picture of him giving Ani a wedgie you can see how much he loves tormenting people.

The Caring Dad: When I was in my mid-twenties I was going through a really bad depression. I rarely left my dreary apartment except to go to work. I would force myself to go to the farm once a month to watch TV with my Mom, listen to my parents bicker, and have some normalcy. When I would get in my car to leave I would often find a little something in the passenger seat waiting for me. Once it was my favorite candy bar, once a rose, and once an old brass candle holder that looked like it had been rescued from an antique auction. I asked my Mom about it and she had no idea. I never talked to my Dad about it but it is something I've never forgotten. It was his way of saying that he knew I was going through a hard time and he wanted me to know that he was thinking about me. He is not a man that expresses his feelings much but he will find a way.

When you are young you don't think about your parents as complex people who make mistakes sometimes. You see things in black and white but as an adult I can see all the vivid colors that make up my Dad.

10 comments:

Sinclair said...

Thanks for the stories. My dad's birthday would have been last week on April 17. He passed away, after a fight with cancer, 10 years ago when I was 27. He and I did not always see eye to eye either, but he was a good and caring dad. You are right to cherish the time you have!

Jennie said...

What an excellent and thought-provoking post! Thank you for sharing these stories- you had me laughing out loud about the toilet paper, and then wiping a tear about the mysterious gifts left in your car.

storybeader said...

golly, that caring dad story brought tears to my eyes. How sweet!

Nancy said...

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Gray Eyed Scorpio said...

The t.p. story is hilarious!rhedunn

Hollyrocks said...

Your dad seems like a very interesting man. I love that he said "all we're doing is laying here" at 5 in the morning, that cracks me up!

I think it's really cool that you took the time to honor his birthday in your blog too. It seems like you have quite a bit of respect for him.

Kristin at My Art and the Mom in Me said...

What a great post...and Happy Birthday to your Dad!

Jenny's Vegcafe said...

Happy Birthday Marlboro Man! I love the story where your Dad took home that old dog that had been sitting by the side of the road for days. When he fed the dog the dog grabbed the first piece of food he could and went and buried it.
He is just a big old softie in a tough leather hide.

Nancy said...

Awh...that's a very touching little dedication there:) I have to be honest I did tear up a bit. My dad and I are a lot closer than me and my mom- he's the creative thinker/ dreamer in the family, she's a polar opposite.

I love the photo where he's picking up Ani by the britches! As if she is a "thing"-haha.

Lin said...

I liked your insight on how you see more aspects of your parents as you get older. I spent a lot of time being angry for things until I got older--now I'm less angry and a little more thoughtful about things said and done. It helps ease the hurt and the anger a bit. Your dad seemed like a very complex character!

 

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