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.

 

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Baby, Stairs Are Dangerous

I haven’t completely trusted my husband with Bean.  I’ve left them alone together (they look after each other on Saturday and Sunday) but there’s always this little nag in the back of my mind.  What if, what if, what if…it chants, spinning my anxieties and having me imagine the worst possible scenario.  Hubby is easily distracted.  He has a tendency to get sucked into the computer for hours on end.  Doing impersonal things when he’s supposed to be looking after the boy.  While I know much of this worry and mistrust is my anxiety, that logical conclusion does nothing to quell my fears.

Yesterday one of those fears came true.

At his grandparent’s house (Hubby’s side) Bean often goes up and down the stairs with our help.

This time he wormed his way past his father and attempted it on his own, tumbling headfirst down the flight of carpeted stairs.

Lightening quick, hubby dove headfirst after him, catching Bean’s shirt halfway down and preventing a full tumble.  Bean finished his fall gentler than he would have without his father’s quick grab and after a bit of scared tears and crying Bean was back to his normal self, wandering around and being silly.  He doesn’t even have a bruise or a red mark from this scary fall!

Hubby, on the other hand, has ended up with a scraped knee that would make any schoolyard boy jealous and multiple bruises on his shoulder and leg.  His knee puffed up and he’s been hobbling around since.

We took Bean to the doctor after I got home from work just to be sure everything was fine.

Someone was certainly looking after Bean yesterday and that someone was his father, my hero.

Pregnant Ponderings

So I’m pregnant. 28 weeks pregnant.  That’s more pregnant than I’ve ever been and gods willing I’ll be bringing this bean into the world in 2 1/2 months time. Probably earlier, I feel this will be an early birth. I’m not sure why I feel this way – perhaps it’s the way Arthurbean kicks me constantly as if he’s anxious to leave my belly and see the world. I think he knows the wonders that await him in this apartment (awesome dad, adorable dog, more animated movies, comics and video games than he could ever want). It’s fatherbean’s fault. He’s been reading a book on the Tardis from Doctor Who to Arthur before bed. Who wouldn’t want to learn more about the Doctor?

I’ve got sciatica, my hips constantly hurt, my back aches from simultaneously holding up a giant belly and ginormous boobs (did you know there is bigger than an H cup? I do now.), carpal tunnel is my constant friend at work, I forget things all the time but…but…but…look at my hair! It’s so thick and shiny and wavy – I touch it all the time. Fatherbean loves it as I have left it long and flowing instead of cutting it short for the oncoming summer.  So when the physical pain and inconvenience gets too much some days I just run my hands through my lustrous hair (I can use that word again hee hee hee).

Arthurbean you’ll have to stay inside a bit longer.  I have a nursery to set up, furniture to buy, a husband to prepare, classes to attend, and a baby blanket to finish knitting for you.  There’s currently a foster dog occupying your nursery (see picture) and he’ll be leaving for his new foster home in May.  Your nursery theme is puppies anyways, so he’s just been keeping it puppied for you.  We have so many useful things we need to buy you (a stroller, car seat, clothes, bottles, nibs, soothers etc etc etc) but your easily distracted mamabean keeps getting sidetracked by adorable baby plush that are in the shape of puppies.  I really hope you like puppies.

I love you already and above anything else that happens during my day I ponder the day I get to meet you, finally.

Then I remember that day comes with crazy pain and screaming (thanks prenatal classes!) and ponder something else.  Like puppies.

Intensive Prenatal Classes

What was supposed to be informative and helpful ended up being a very hard day for me yesterday. My husband and I had signed up for prenatal classes with the only person in our city that my Dr recommended. We opted for the two 4 hour classes instead of the five 1 1/2 hour classes.

We were early and sat in the room waiting for the 7 other couples to show up.  The instructor gave us our name tags (oi – name tags?) and fatherbean and I read various books on babies while we waited.

I can feel the anxiety starting in me, the tickle in my stomach that isn’t quite nausea, the racing thoughts in my head – but what if they don’t like me oh god i’m going to be the oldest mom here i’ll definately be the fattest will i have to talk infront of them – and so on and so forth.  I know fatherbean is nervous but he stays quiet and focused beside me.  I take out my knitting and work on calming some of that anxiety.

The first couple arrives and sits down.  Then the rest trickle in.  The fathers all seem to have the same caught-in-the-headlights look on their faces and focus their attention on the moms.  The moms all glance around when they think the others aren’t looking and steal peeks at other bellies than theirs.  No one talks – I don’t think anyone is sure how to start a conversation.  “Hi!  I’m pregnant, so are you!  So…uh…how’s it going?”

A lady representing a company that does Cord Blood Banking comes in and talks to us about it.  http://www.insception.com/  I’d heard about this service before but had never really delved into the heart of it.  The blood can apparently be used later in the child’s life to help with various diseases and can even be used for other close family members.  Sounds good but it’s expensive and not something fatherbean and I have the budget for at the moment.  Plus I feel guilty – like I won’t be doing enough to protect this child if I DON’T use the service.

The class continues.  The teacher is a beautiful woman with a Trinidad accent.  I love listening to her talk and she puts me at ease.  Fatherbean is learning what to do to make labor more comfortable for me – ways he can help and ways he can be useful.  What to do to take care of himself and me in the coming months.  I know he’s been stressed about seeing me in pain and about becoming a dad so as I expected this class is more for him than me.

As the class moves on and we start talking about the signs of labor and preterm labor I start to become more and more agitated.  I’ve already been in labor.  I know the signs.  My mind flashes back to that horrible day all alone at the hospital where I went in to emergency with what I thought was a bladder infection and ended up having a stillbirth at 19.5 weeks.  As the teacher describes the type of pain contractions are my body remembers and I start to panic.  I think of Joel, little Joel, who I lost last May and whose death weighs still so heavily on my heart.  I get mad once again at the Ob/Gyn who failed me.  It’s hard hearing all this in a setting I can’t escape from. It’s taking all my strength not to run sobbing from the room.  I look at the wall and try not to listen too much.  Not that I think anyone will fault me for it if I did start crying but I do not want to upset the class – nor the other mothers there. I also do not really want to explain myself.

Perhaps one day I will post my lost bean’s story.

The instructor noticed my pain and took me aside afterwards and we talked about it.  It really helped.  She helped calm my anxieties somewhat and gave me some options to help with this pregnancy.  She says fatherbean and I may be candidates for a volunteer Doula to help – especially since I have an increased risk of post partum depression.  That would be a big help.

I’ll leave this post on a fun note though. While all us moms were out in the hall eating our lunch the men had to stay behind and make a list of things to “help her during pregnancy”. Like what they would specifically do. When us women were let back in the room we had to guess which ones our guys wrote. There was one there that said “Bring her a picture of a favorite pet” and I started to laugh. I knew that was fatherbean’s! The teacher said he wanted to bring me the pet but they don’t allow that at the hospital so a picture will have to do. Seems as if my precious Spitha dog will be helping me during pregnancy more than she knows – and how lucky am I to have a husband who truly understands me like he does? So lucky.