So, Facebook has informed me that it’s Father’s Day weekend, and as Facebook has never lied to me before (except all those times it lied to me), I will take it at its word and blog accordingly.
With that in mind, I thought I’d blog a bit about my dad, who is, after all, 50% responsible for my existing in the world, and that’s kind of a big deal (to me, at least). But more than just giving me the gift of existence, my dad also, as it happens, was a pretty awesome father.
Behold, an embarrassing photo of myself as a poofy-haired ironing board wearing someone’s grandmother’s dress:
My dad, you may be surprised to learn, is the gentleman in the back-right of the photo. In case you’re still straining to pick him out, here’s a handy close-up:
My dad, sadly, passed away of a heart attack when I was twelve, which was particularly illogical because his heart was easily the strongest part of him. He had a bit of a temper, he could paint an elaborate tapestry with swear words, and he never shirked from punishing me when I did something really wrong – but I never doubted for a second that he loved me. He was always gentle, always kind, always affectionate and loving, and the saddest thing, I think, is that I never had the chance to tell him how much I appreciated that.
As kids, we’re all selfish little brats sometimes (or a lot of the time, in my case), and then we grow into obnoxious emo teenagers, and then finally we move away from home and become semi-sensible adults who can look back on all the temper tantrums and emo poetry and say to our parents, “Man, I’m sorry you had to put up with all that.”
I can offer such apologies to my mom, but sadly my dad never got the chance to see me move out of the brat phase and become a (mostly) non-bratty adult. And I really regret that. I know he loved me, but I wish I could’ve had the chance to show him that all the lessons he and my mom tried to instill in me did stick, and I’m a better person today because of what I learned from him.
Anyway, a few memories of my dad that always make me smile:
1. Regarding my pillow and fire
When I was a teeny tot, my version of Linus’ security blanket was my pillow. I used to carry it around with me and give it big, squishy Elmyra hugs when I was feeling insecure. And one of the things that made me feel especially insecure was the fear that our house would catch on fire. I wasn’t particularly worried about the humans in the house getting out in the event of a fire – I was sure we’d be able to do that, as we did after all have legs that could carry us to safely.
My pillow, however, lacked any method of propelling itself, and this deeply concerned me. I remember grabbing my dad’s arm one night and begging, pleading, “Daddy, if the house catches on fire, you have to rescue my pillow. Please, Daddy, promise me you’ll go back and save my pillow!”
It wasn’t that I wanted him to grab my pillow on the way out, you see – if our family had managed to escape the blazing inferno safely but my pillow was still inside, I wished for him to go back into the flames in order to save a $5.00 bit of fluff and polyester from K-Mart.
But he looked down into my oh-so-serious face and solemnly promised me that he would, and I was able to rest easy in the knowledge that my pillow would be safe should fire ever descend upon our house.
And then, I assume, he went into the next room and despaired of having such a weird, weird kid. Which was probably one of his main hobbies during most of my childhood, actually, as we can deduce from…
2. The curious incident of the dog-bomb in the nighttime
For my birthday one year, someone gave me a stuffed dog that had a secret compartment in which you could hide your savings – which, for me, was about fifty-five cents. That was spiffy enough, but the genius creators of this dog bank took things a step further and also included a little button on the bottom of said dog. When the dog was sitting on some kind of surface, all was normal – but if anyone picked it up, thus releasing the button, the dog would immediately begin to bark and growl like a particularly pissed off Rottweiler.
I adored this feature, but since everyone in the house already knew the dog’s secret, no one was likely to pick it up and set off the hilaaarious barking. Thus, I had no choice but to get crafty.
My dad always peeked into my room once or twice during the night to make sure all was well, so I decided to punish him for his fatherly concern by balancing the dog on top of my slightly open door. When he came in to check on me that night, he pushed open the door as usual – and a big fluffy dog bomb fell on his head. I woke to the sounds of loud barking and even louder swearing.
I found this hilarious, naturally, and so proceeded to do this every night for weeks. As there was literally no way for my dad to open the door without setting off the dog, he had no choice but to set it off every time he came to check on me, though he generally caught it before it struck him on the head. He never yelled at me or punished me for this nightly assault, but the batteries to the dog did eventually mysteriously disappear, never to be seen again.
I have a lot of other good memories of my dad – the time we went sled-riding and ended up in a bush, us watching Return of the Jedi together, the many times when I was sick and he carried me out to the kitchen in the middle of the night to make me a cup of tea – but some of my best memories revolve around me acting like a complete idiot and my dad still treating me like I was the best little kid in the world.
I’m sure he didn’t always think I was the best little kid in the world, but he acted like it, and that was what really mattered.
Anyway, it’s been a long time since my dad passed away – more than half my life, in fact – but I’ll never forget what a really great father he was. Anyone who can put up with being assaulted by an airborne Rottweiler every night without wishing murder upon his child has gotta be a pretty awesome guy.
<3 Happy Father’s Day, Daddy. Sorry for all the madness and general weirdness. And, you know, for any dog-related head injuries you may have sustained.