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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My Little Big Boy

011Oh my god.  He was so tiny.  Look at that little red face.  8 pounds 7 ounces of beautiful baby boy.  I waited so long for this little man to enter my life and that life has changed in so many amazingly wonderful ways since he arrived.  I never knew I could love something so damn much.

I find myself commenting during the day how big he is.  Arthur’s 27 pounds of baby at 8.5 months and is standing as tall as most the 1 year olds we meet.  He’s crawling and can almost stand on his own without holding onto something.  He babbles constantly and I can just see those bright eyes taking in the world and figuring out his next big move.

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He’s growing and changing so damn fast.  I cried today as I put away the clothes he doesn’t fit anymore.  Soon he’ll be walking and causing no end of destruction in the house.  As I said he’s such a big boy.

But at night I get glimpses of the first three months of his life.  When he’s fast asleep and searching for me in the bed he looks just like he did days old.  Eyes closed, arms flailing, mouth puckered and making small suckling noises.  When he latches, puts his hands gently on my breast and dream feeds I just melt.

I love the little noises he makes.  The way he caresses my skin with his tiny little fingers.  Those tiny hands always remind me that despite his big personality and fast-growing body he’s still so very small.  And I will do everything to protect this little big life.

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For My Husband – My Valentine

“And I don’t want the world to see me, cause I don’t think that they’d understand, when everything’s made to be broken, I just want you to know who I am” – Iris, Goo Goo Dolls

When we first met I was broken.  I had been used so many times that I wasn’t sure I could do it again.  Be with anyone.  I had been beaten down and gone through some terrifyingly tough times.  Yet I was desperate for love, clinging to a small hope that someday I would have my happy ending.  My Prince.

I didn’t find my prince in you.  I found something better.  My best friend and soul mate.

Someone who understands me better than I do myself.  Someone with whom I am comfortable sharing my most intimate secrets and not be scared that he will push me away.  Someone who values me for who I am, not what I look like.  Someone who sees the worth in me on days when I feel worthless and makes sure he tells me how wonderful I am.  Someone who taught me that relationships go both ways and I’m allowed to receive as well as give.

I’m a romantic.  Through all else I believed in love.  I watch movies like Moulin Rouge, The Princess Bride and Ever After.  I sing songs sung by Disney princesses.  It really wasn’t hard to win my heart – though showing up at my work dressed in a shirt and tie bearing candy certainly helped speed things along.  My trust though, that you had to work for.

I was attracted to you the first time we met.  I was let into your brother’s home so we could all get down to the nerdy business of Dungeons and Dragons.  You stomped down the stairs and looked right at me.  Then you turned around and ran back up the stairs.  I know now that it was because you had forgotten something but I like to think you liked the look of me and ran back upstairs to primp.  Makes me giggle to imagine you hastily combing your hair and throwing on a clean t-shirt.

I liked your oversized nerdy glasses.  Your green eyes that sparkled with excitement when you described our character’s adventures.  The way you gestured with your hands and seemed full of raw energy.  You were always very sincere.

Our first date was at the movies.  We hadn’t made it official yet (still in the land of “love me, love me not”) and chose to see Constantine.  I don’t remember the movie much as three days before I had decided to quit smoking cold turkey and all I could concentrate on was the ciggs Constantine CONSTANTLY had.  It was a fight not to go outside and find someone with a smoke to share.  I’m glad I didn’t cause I got to kiss you later.  A kiss so very sweet shouldn’t be marred by smoker’s breath.

We had a sweet and nerdy romance where you woo’d me with the kind of shy awkwardness made for teen romance movies.  Remember how I used to stop at your house when I got off of work at the Cafe and leave you love notes in your mailbox?

Eventually the walls came down and I sat in your basement, telling you my past through tiny scared sobs.  I remember that you became angry on my behalf and frustrated that there was nothing you could do.  Sweetheart you did the very best thing you could do – better than punching someone on my behalf – you accepted my past without judgement and therefore accepted me.  You will never truly know just how much that night meant to me.

It wasn’t long after that we became engaged.  I had attended my first staff party at the comic store and came home so very, very drunk.  I kind of remember falling out of your single bed we shared laughing hysterically as I rolled around on the floor.  I asked you in the morning if I had said anything funny and you replied “You said you’d marry me.”  Turns out what I said in my drunken haze was “I’d marry you, but you have to ask me first.” Aaaand then passed out.  

It’s been quite a ride, hasn’t it?  There are so many memories, so many challenges.  We bought a place to live – a place we still share crammed full of all the geeky goodness we’ve collected together.  We shared the adoption and too-soon death of our beloved rottweiler Princess.  We adopted another dog and delight in our mutual love of all things Spitha.  We weathered my ups and downs until I finally broke down completely and succumbed to my anxiety and depression landing me in hospital.  We supported each other through the loss of our first baby – something that brought us back together after too much time apart.

We finally got married. One of the happiest times in my life.  On the banks of the Yukon River you pledged to spend the rest of your life with me.  We wrote our own vows and share wedding rings made of sterling silver with yukon gold inside of them.  I slaved over a playlist that reflected us – the first dance being to “With Or Without You” by U2 (a song I knew you liked) BUT sung by Disturbed – very us.  I had to have your brother ramble on for about a minute until the song kicked in as I wanted to surprise you with it.  I think it worked and I remember you chuckling, a sound I adore.  As we danced, even though it was summer in a tourist-y and public place filled with family, for awhile there it felt like it was just you and me. You looked SO handsome in your suit and bright yellow tie to match my dress.

Then comes Arthur.  The little being with your eyes and my fingers.  You handled the pregnancy like a champ, despite your addiction to Skyrim.  A pregnancy full of anxiety and health issues.  You were always there when it mattered – especially those times I needed some ice cream on snowy nights.  Those were totally the most important times.  You were always supportive and never made me feel as if my concerns were silly.

You are an amazing father.  I am so very proud of you.  It’s not easy going to school full-time, working AND making sure you still have time for Arthur and me.  You are gentle and patient and do not give yourself enough credit where Arthur is concerned.  He will always know you love him and that is the most important thing.  Plus you look damn sexy wearing a baby in a carrier.

I don’t tell you enough how much I love you.  Appreciate you.  Recognize how different and empty my life would be without you.  I miss you when you are not here and always want to find ways to make you laugh.  I am most comfortable when you are beside me.  You understand me the way very few people do.  Though my love for you has changed over time it is still going strong.  I’m lucky to have found you and I truly do understand now what it is I have.

I haven’t found my happy ending because this is really just the beginning.  I look forward to living life to the end with you, love.  Happy Valentine’s day.  I love you.

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