Monday, June 16, 2008

Our Father Who Waits

Go figure that my Father's Day post would be a full day late. I think my Dad has spent the bulk of the last 25 years waiting on me to do some such thing or the other and it strikes me now that this one post in his honor should follow that pattern.

Dad waited for me to fall asleep. A full month early and spending the first several out of the womb screaming to high Miami heavens as he drove me around and around and around the block to get me quiet.

Dad waited for me to wake up. Some of my best memories of being little are getting up early with him when we were on vacation. Dad is a serious early bird (pre-Dawn) but he would wait until a slightly more decent hour and then nudge me a bit to get up and around. So I have these memories of that early quiet in hotel lobbies and Bed and Breakfasts. Of hot chocolate and a newspaper in Chattanooga and outside Dublin. Of bakery runs in Harwichport and in Paris. Dad introduced me to the time of day where potential meditates on itself and the light is clean and bright. Now that I've rediscovered mornings for myself, it's fun to run into him at the coffee carafe and again on whatever porch is closest. Just like dusk is a time when I think of my Mom, dawn and just after is the time for Dad.

Dad waited for me to calm down. Being a rather passionate person and coming from a long line of passionate people (usually how it goes, yes?), I had a rather short fuse growing up. Mostly in relation to Brother. Yes, friends, the very same Brother whose accolades I hum on this very blog used to drive me nothing short of bananas- again, is this not par for course with little brothers? Back in the days when I was not a full 8 inches shorter than him, my first response to his biting 6 year old wit was to just knock him upside the head. After I had thoroughly exhausted my generally unflappable mother, Dad came up with the concept of "D.O.R." (pronounced DOOR)

Don't OverReact.

The idea was that every time I wanted to hit Brother, I would shout DOR!!!! instead. If I was counted using DOR a certain amount of times... Disney World. I'm completely serious and it worked. There were still times when darling Brother's jabs got the best of me but more often than not, I just stood there shouting DOR at him until my freckles turned purple. Genius. And for the record, we did go to Disney World. And we went to see Captain EO at Epcot so many times that it became the favorite living room reenactment.

Dad waited for me to come to him. My dad very much has the spirit of a teacher. If he has knowledge, it's his nature to share it. And he's good at it, particularly when it comes to training and coaching.
But then there's me-Grade A pain in the ass when it comes to doing anything any way but the way I think it needs to be done. Now along with the temper business, I like to think this has improved with age but there is probably some evidence to the contrary. I can look back, as many of us can, to times when I was just plain unpleasant for no apparent reason. Zero reason. He would try to help and I would bite the hand with candy in it. So then he would step back until me in all of my sulking, storm cloud glory came to him. And this did not always go so smoothly either but there he was. Half trying to keep from tearing his own hair out and half trying to keep from laughing out loud at the curly little pisspot he ended up with for a daughter. And we worked through it. I figured out double digit multiplication, I caught a fly ball and even though he ended up with a concussion, I learned to keep my head down when swinging a golf club.
Dad waited for me to make a case. There are a lot of battles that go into raising kids. I don't have to have any of my own to know that for a fact. Something I will say for both of my parents is that they weren't into knock-down, drag-out arguments. If we wanted something badly enough, they never scoffed or ignored it. Instead, it was legal. Negotiated. "Meet us in the middle." So we saved and we haggled and we got there. This went from new bikes and CD players all the way to adventures of an international variety.

And Dad's still waiting for me. Waiting for me to plan ahead, see the bigger picture or rather, stop worrying so much about the bigger picture. We are a lot alike, he and I. In our love of stories from Star Wars to Salinger. In our eclectic taste in music and love of all things four-legged. In our occasional tempers and terrible puns. Yes, I am my father's daughter and that's a good thing. "I may be weird, but I'm yours."

Love you.Most Honorable of Mention: There are several posts that have been and will be dedicated to my partner in crime but special notice must be given today. Pop Pop supplied today's photos and he, as one of my few confidantes and very favorite people, deserves thanks for being the father to my father and more specifically for being a grandfather defying any kind of typecast. A chef and a poet and a photographer and an economist and an avid bridge player and... far too charming to be up to any good. He is easily adored by Brother and I both and we have become like good wine. Give us time to breathe and everything just keeps getting better.

"Happy Father's Day Pop!"
"Esme! Are you behaving yourself?"
"That's my girl...keep it that way!"

She's very lucky, that TKTC.


Susie said...

Awww, very sweet. And I could definitely see the special relationship you and your dad have and the awesome marriage he has with your mom. Isn't it the best to have parents who love you to death and also love each other?? By the way, is your dad on Twitter yet??? :)

My father's day post will be a couple days late (what else is new with me?) but, no lie, the card I gave my dad brought him to tears.

Alexa said...

this is a great post, it sounds like you have a fabulous relationship with your father. and the great relationship he has with your mother.

you came from what i like to call good stock. ha

Your Ill-fitting Overcoat said...

What a sweet post. My parents had to drive me around the block to get me to fall asleep, too! Is that common?

Also, I LOVE the "DOR" idea and need to add that to my non-existent list of "Things to Remember When I Have Kids".

L Sass said...

So cute! I miss my dad now.

Also, I know this is Dad's day, but your mom is looking HOT. My mom is agonizingly debating letting her gray hair grow in... your mom ROCKS it.

The Charming Hedonist said...

My Father's Day post was a ful day late too. But my Daddy waited on me too. Daddy's are great.

So@24 said...

I imagined mom and dad with curly locks.

joner said...

I am (not so) patiently awaiting an update from your trip to NYC - get those fingers tapping away!

Molly McGuffin said...

Your mom is stunning, wow!! And papa langsen is just as mischieviously distinguished, as always, haha :)