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.