My Father, The Most Important Man In My Life (Also The Punniest)

When I was about twelve my father had an altercation with a lady at the bank.  They were screwing him around and he just got angrier and angrier the more she tried to justify the bank’s actions.  Thing is, he’s pretty good at hiding it.  My dad doesn’t get angry often and rarely to that level.  The lady eventually just backed away and ran into her cubicle.  He never said a mean word to her – of that I am sure – but his mere presence had her scurry away like a frightened rabbit.

As we were leaving I turned to my dad and said “Daddy, when you get angry, you get bigger.”

And he does.  Not physically bigger like the Hulk but…spiritually bigger?  It’s like his spirit becomes to large for his already massive frame (my dad is 6’4 and rotund) and seeps out around the edges.

This event sticks out in  my mind as a definitive moment in our relationship because deep down I realized that not only was my father a spiritual man – that he was human.  That he got angry and sad and all those emotions he hid from us to keep the smiles on our faces.

I love my father more than any other man alive.  He is the being to which all my relationships have been put against.  He is the person all the men in my life had to measure up to – and that’s a pretty tall order.  The only one to come close is my husband.

I’m one of the lucky ones, I know.  I have a father who is still alive, still a part of my life, who has always loved and supported me no matter what, who loves my mother with all his heart and would lay his life on the line for his family.  He’s an amazing man and wonderful father.

My dad is a martial artist.  As age and weight has set in he’s stopped practicing save for the occasional Tai-Chi in the backyard, but I say IS because he’s never truly lost it.  He didn’t join a club with levels and belts and all that jazz.  They had one belt and it was there to hold up their pants.  They met in a small club and fought, and they fought hard.  It was a small club as the amount of people who could “stand the heat” so-to-speak was small.  Once a week they’d sit under a waterfall and meditate (in Canada).  The spiritual training was as intense as the physical and he carries both to this day.  He wasn’t the best fighter, he says, but when other clubs would face his during tournaments more often than not the fighters forfeited before a punch was thrown.  So when I looked at other kids and said “My dad could beat up your dad” I wasn’t bluffing.

He told me a story of some dude trying to come up behind and mug him late at night.  That dude left with two broken arms (and I hope a new outlook on life).

I’ll never forget the time that my friend’s husband challenged my (already pushing 50) father to a fight.  Her husband was in his 20’s and as high as he could go in his martial arts club.  We all gathered on the porch to watch and it was over in seconds.  Friend’s hubby was sprawled out on the grass my dad holding onto his arm and pressing down on his chest.  Us ladies laughed our butts off.  Hubby’s pride was hurt but he found a great respect for my dad, and it carried over into a friendship for several years.

He rode dirtbikes in his younger years and met his true love through that activity.  I have a tattoo on my back of a wolf (dad) and cheetah (mom) in a circle done in a dirtbike style – in honour of them.  Dad always says that if he hadn’t met my mom he never would have married.  He’s not afraid to be alone.  He was a lone wolf most of his life before marraige.

He’s a nerd.  Since the first computer was built he’s been fascinated with them.  We had a computer long before most of my friends did, mostly so my dad could tinker with it.  I used it to write Sailor Moon fanfiction.

Now that he’s retired he spends his time on a computer creating 3D models of things he reads about in his sci-fi and fantasy books.  He’ll send them to the author when it’s done to his satisfaction.  My dad is retired and creates fan art.  I come by it honestly.

He reads comics.  He watches samurai movies.  He loves science and technology, cars and football, writing poetry and playing video games.  He’s the punniest man I’ve ever met.  A classic pun will elicit the best of groans, and they are always perfectly timed.

One time on a trip to Rome he got to take his shoes off and stand where Julius Ceasar stood.

One time he cooked macaroni and cheese for dinner and when my brother and I asked why the Kraft dinner was white, we discovered he had cooked the cheese with the macaroni.  Another time he lit a microwave on fire by putting in an Arby’s sandwich still in the tinfoil.  He’s not much of a cook.  But he does make a yummy egg dish full of cheese and hotdogs and bacon.  I used to ask him to make it for me as he took such joy in it.

He was a teacher and I always felt his kids must be so lucky to have him.  He taught the deaf and I would watch as he talked with others using his hands and marvel at it.  Sign language is, IMO, one of the world’s most beautiful languages.  He gave up his weekends to be with us – playing whatever sport my younger brother had decided was awesome at the time.

Through my dad I met so many fascinating people.  A card-reading woman who sparked my interest and empathy in Native affairs (and medicine cards).  A rough and tough biker who took my brother and I for rides on his motor cycle when he wasn’t roaming in a local gang.  A man from the islands who ate ox tail and watched bad martial arts movies.

He taught me compassion, empathy and to be accepting and inclusive in a time when this was still not the norm.  No matter your background, no matter your religion, no matter your sexual orientation – if you were a good person, you were welcomed.

Infinitely curious about the world around him my dad always asks me about my job at the comic shop.  One time when I was taking care of the Yaoi section of the store (romantic manga written by women for women starring guys) dad wanted to read one.  So I picked one out, gave it to him, he read it cover to cover said “Hmm, interesting,” and handed it back to me.  I laughed and handed him a samurai manga instead of a Yaoi.  “Much more my speed, but I see why it’s popular,” he said.

And as a Grandpa?  I’m so happy that I got to give him a grandchild to adore – and that Bean will get to know him at least some before the inevitable.

There are so many interesting stories, so many awesome things I could tell you about my father.  It would take up several posts!  But I think this is enough for now.  The most important thing is that I love him and he loves me and even if I’d created my own father he wouldn’t have been as good as the one I got.  It was father’s day this past Sunday and, though late, I wanted to share with all of you a bit of my daddy.

Am I a daddy’s girl?  Absolutely and I couldn’t be fucking prouder.

Dad at the local Pagan festival with me.

Dad at the local Pagan festival with me.

 

Please Don’t Touch The Mama

*Trigger warning for talk of mental illness, sexual assault and rape*

Right now, I don’t want to be touched.

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The simple act of my husband holding his hand out to help me up from the couch causes a subconscious revulsion.  My body reacts before my logical mind kicks in.  I shrink back and get up from the couch without help.  Hugs?  Forget it.  Kisses?  I’d rather not.  We can safely say that sex is so far out of the question it’s orbiting Pluto.

It’s hurting my relationship with my husband.  He needs closeness and physical intimacy – and I just can’t give it to him.  A simple hug feels like a violation of my space and I retreat as fast as possible.  Whenever I have to touch somebody (mostly my husband because there are not many people who require physicality from me) my brain just starts SCREAMING “stop touching stop touching stop touching”

This isn’t limited to my husband either.  Though not as common, oftentimes I have to force myself to touch my son.  He still wants to breastfeed once in awhile, for comfort and closeness, and I have to clench my teeth and fight back the tears.  The tension in my body is clearly visible when he snuggles up for cuddles.  I have to force myself to touch the one thing in this goddamn universe that makes me remotely happy.  That is so so so fucked up.

I don’t know if this is related to the fact that I am a mentally ill person suffering depression and am currently unmedicated and not seeing anyone.  (Not for lack of trying, believe me)  Or if it’s tied to my horrible past that has been seeping into my dreams unwanted.  Past trauma I had forgotten, or shut out is giving me nightmares.   As I’ve learned more about rape, about rape culture, and what sexual assault actually is, I’m realizing I’m a victim.  My past is littered with unwanted gropes, touches and assaults.  I didn’t know back then.  I thought it was just par for the course, that it was just what guys did, that it was just what happens.

I’m living, currently, in a roulette wheel of feelings.  One day I’m angry – angry at my husband, angry at my house, angry at my job.  I hate it all.  I want to leave it all behind, run away, hide.  Then I feel guilty and slip into depression where all I want to do is sleep, sleep and never wake up.  But sleeping brings no relief as I’m haunted by memories.  I fake my way through work, fake smiles, fake caring.  Sometimes it’s real, mostly it’s not.  And my patience is very, very, very thin.  I am losing my ability to deal with…well…almost everything.

The only thing, the ONLY THING, that brings me joy is Bean.  And even he suffers because his mom is sick.  He suffers my inability to deal normally with day-to-day toddler behavior.  The mom I wanted to be, the soft caring mom, she’s only around part time.  The other times I’m angry mom, sad mom, frustrated mom, too-tired-for-this-shit mom.  I’m the mom who doesn’t want to touch her son.  To feel his soft skin and relish in his silky, beautiful, curly hair.  To snuggle his rolls and kiss his little nose.  The fact that oftentimes I have to force myself to do these things kills me.

I can’t keep living like this.  Feeling like I’m swimming underwater and not quite ever reaching the surface, even though I keep following the sunlight.  Sometimes I sink so low I can’t even see the light anymore.  I hurt so much I’ve gone numb.  I don’t want to die, but I can’t keep going like this.  Something needs to give or I’m going to implode, again.

It’s hard for me to talk about all of this on here.  There are people who read this blog who know me in real life.  Family, friends, even work-related people.  But this is me.  This is the turmoil I am in these days.  Some days are good.  Some days are bad.  Mostly they are just days.

 

Busy Busy Bean

Touching.  Climbing.  Exploring.  Licking.

One of the things I cherish most about being around Bean is his wonder and awe at absolutely everything.  His desire to test the limits of his body and his fearlessness.  Where other children fear to tread my little man rushes in with a big goofy grin on his face.  He’s not afraid to try new things and right now…pretty much everything is new and FREAKING AWESOME.  I mean, c’mon.  Did you see that transport truck?  It was like WHOAH DUDE.  SO BIG.

He’s a busy guy and an explorer.  I have to be on my toes because he has no hesitation to climb higher or go faster than his body is ready for.  Indoor playgrounds have been my blessing this winter as it gave Bean a huge and relatively safe place to play with lots of fun things to do.  They are also super fun for me because I’m pretty much a kid inside and giving me free reign to run around a playground and climb up things and go down slides…well let’s just say I was also having a blast.

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Sometimes I forget how small he is.  He’s in 2 – 3T clothes at 20 months – he’s tall and slim with my family’s thick thighs and big feet.  But then something happens and he needs to put his hand in mine and it’s still so tiny and fragile.

Temper tantrums, sleep problems, iron deficiency – it’s been a hard couple months.  But through it all I try to remember that his view of the world is still so new.  So tiny.  That he’s watching and learning but not all of what he’s seeing is something he can do.  That would be frustrating for me too!  That is big personality and big emotions are spilling out of him from time to time when he’s tired or hungry or just plain not having it.  He’s growing up so fast but he’s still so very small.

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Names.  It’s one of the hardest initial tasks parents undertake for their child.  Choosing a name that is unique so when the child’s name is called in school half the classroom doesn’t answer.  Choosing a name that has a low possibility for being changed on the child to be used in bullying or schoolyard teasing.  Choosing a name that doesn’t have negative connotations for you (the name of an ex-boyfriend or someone who wronged you) or a name that is linked negatively to someone famous (serial killer names for example).  Trying one’s hardest to make sure the child will be happy with the name you chose and won’t want to change it during his/her teenage years.

Or, like some parents, caution can be thrown to the wind and they choose names such as & (Ampersand), Na-a (Nadasha) or @ (not sure how this one is pronounced).  Name your child after cars, restaurants, corporations, fast food or even beloved cartoon characters (Optimus Prime i’m looking at you).  I really don’t understand these parents.

When it came to naming Babybean I had a complicated situation that was solved in an unexpected way.

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Buy ALL The Baby Things? Rawr!

I had my first excursion into baby products the other day visiting Babies R Us to create a baby registry.  I was SO OVERWHELMED by the whole ordeal.  I hate asking people for gifts and I especially hate telling them exactly what gifts to buy me.  I know this is some sort of privilege that I get for being pregnant but it still weirds me out.  However my attitude changed when they gave me a funky space age scanner thing (of which I am accustomed having worked retail all of my life) and I got to run around the store and scan items I thought were cute and that babybean would like.  Which, admittedly, was EVERYTHING.  I’m happy I had someone to shop with though as it’s somewhat embarrassing to shop for baby by myself and get caught “awwwwing” out loud by random customers and staff.  And no matter how much he might be developing eyesight right now there is no way that babybean saw the adorableness of that puppy hoody I tried to show him about a week ago.  So having a friend or relative along saves face.  Gotcha.

Truthfully we haven’t started the nursery – there is no furniture or anything in there.  I hadn’t even bought anything remotely baby until today and I’m 31 weeks along now.  OMG I’VE GOT TWO MONTHS LEFT????  How did that happen.  AcK!  I really should get moving on this.  I mean, the nursery is painted – two different greens – and I painted a tree on the one side with a dog house underneath it.  Here’s what it looks like at the moment…..

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Penny Bought Bunny

I have the usual memories of Easter from when I was a child, my mom always spoiled my brother and I on holidays.  Chocolate bunnies nestled in bright baskets full of pastel colored plastic grass.  The eggs my brother and I had decorated with crayon and food coloring hidden around the house.  Eating mounds of candy and a trip to the park – no doubt to wear off the sugar rush my brother and I were both on.  Crazy kids, loving parents, always a good weekend.

One of my fondest memories of Easter though is when I was 10 years old.  In the local convenience store there was a chocolate bunny in a box.  One day several weeks before Easter I got it in my head that I needed to buy that bunny for my mom and dad for a present.  I went about collecting all the change I could find – everything in my drawers, my piggy banks, my hidden stashes.  I sat in our playroom and counted pennies and nickles until I had the 9.99 price tag to buy the rabbit.  Being that I was 10 I didn’t know about rolling coin or about taxes yet so I dragged exactly 9.99 in mostly pennies down the street Easter weekend to the store.  In a plastic bag.  Complete with bits of paper and pet hair mixed in.

I remember waiting in line, bouncing up and down as I eyed the bunny on the shelf.  Surely no one would buy the chocolate before MY turn in line, right?  Bright eyed (and bushy tailed) I plopped the bag of coin down on his counter and proudly announced “I want to buy that bunny for my mommy and daddy please!”  (yes, I called them mommy and daddy – I still do at 34 years of age)

I’m not sure if the shop keeper found it annoying or adorable that I had brought him this bag of change but he and I counted it together in between other customers being rung through.  I had counted right (I remember being very proud of this fact) but I didn’t have enough.  He explained to me about taxes and my world fell down around me.  I didn’t have any more money.  That was everything I could find in the house!

The shop keeper thought for a moment and finally handed me the bunny.  He took the bag of change and set it behind the counter.  He bagged up my bunny and sent me on my way.  I was so happy!  I ran home, made my own wrapping paper for the bunny and prepared to present it to mommy and daddy the next morning.

They were touched that I bought it and I remember refusing to eat my chocolate before they ate theirs.  I learned later that my mom hated milk chocolate and ate some of it anyways to see me smile.  I think that was the first time I realized how much FUN giving presents was – especially when I had toiled so hard to acquire the gifts.  The feeling of pride and happiness as mom and dad enjoyed the bunny has stuck with me all these years and I continue to enjoy giving people things that make them smile to this day.

Happy Easter … no matter how you celebrate.  Have a bunny, on me.  🙂