I wasn’t posting regularly in June, so I missed sharing this with you.
My Dad celebrated his 59th Father’s Day this year! I wanted to do something special; something that would represent our relationship and I think I nailed it! My cousin had sent me this old photo months ago. You can see Dad and I are both laughing/smiling and that pretty much sums up my relationship with him. We have been making each other laugh for 59 years! Dad was 25 years old in this photo and obviously, I was just a wee baby.
I have a Facebook friend who is an artist/photographer and I have seen some of her work because she shares on Facebook. She does amazing work! I decided to contact her to see if she could draw the above photo before Father’s Day and she said she could. I was thrilled!
When she finished, seeing it brought tears to my eyes. It was absolutely perfect! Take a look for yourself! She does amazing work and if you’d like to have something special drawn, look her up on Facebook. Her name is Katarzyna Cepek. You can see some of her other work there, too.
I put the drawing in an 8×10 frame and wrapped it with a pretty bow, I could barely wait to give it to him! As soon as Dad was up that morning, I gave it to him. Now, Dad is not one to show emotion so his reaction was less than my teary-eyed red face, but he definitely thought it was nicely done and he hung it up on the wall right away.
I will definitely want more drawings! In fact, Dad and I were talking just last week about getting a set of drawings of older photos that we can display on our ugly walls. And trust me, our walls are ugly!
As you must know by now, my Dad is my best friend. He’s been the glue that keeps things moving smoothly, the comic relief, and the man who helped me raise my kids when their own father couldn’t be bothered to even write or call.
Dad and I haven’t always been close. That wasn’t his choice, nor mine. I know people get sick of the blame always being placed upon the mother, but in this case it was definitely my mother’s fault.
When I was a little girl, my mother pretty much had me scared to death of my Dad. She would comment things like, “Don’t let your Dad hear you say that,” or “Better clean up that mess before your Dad gets home.” She always ended those warnings with remarks about being spanked or sent to my room. I don’t recall my bedroom ever being messy. I remember Dad sometimes working overtime and not being home for dinner. In order to get me to finish everything on my plate, Mom would warn me of the consequences if I didn’t finish by the time Dad came home. Often she gave me portions that I’m positive were too big for my little tummy. I was a scared little girl.
When I was a little older, Mom kept me in line much the same way. She always made Dad out to be the bad guy. One time I was 5 minutes late from walking home from school and she told me how lucky I was that Dad wasn’t home! I remember running home from school many times after that to avoid the wrath of my father. Of course, Dad was never the authoritarian meany-head Mom made him out to be.
When I was around 12 or 13 years old, I wanted to start shaving my legs and Mom showed me how but told me, “Just don’t tell your Dad. He’ll be mad as hell.” And when I started wearing makeup, I sneaked it because I knew what she would say. I would buy a little makeup with my babysitting money and put it on when I got to the bus stop in the mornings, and took it off on the bus on the way home from school.
I could go on with more examples but you get the idea. There was a lot of manipulation going on.
Dad and I became closer as I entered adulthood. Somehow, Mom knew then that she couldn’t do what she had always done. She had lost her control. Once she left us (her family) behind and left the state, things began to change. I don’t know how anyone could be afraid of my Dad. I don’t know how I could have ever been so afraid of him. It just goes to show you how impressionable small children are. Dad was never anything but fun and funny – if you can visualize a 6-foot tall man riding a tricycle, then you’ll get a good idea of what I mean.
Dad is much older now, 83 and counting. He’s been a great Dad even when Mom made him out to be strict and mean. He’s been there for me when shit has hit the fan full force, and has been there for my kids as they were growing up. I don’t know what I would have done without him.
For Father’s Day this year, I collected funds from my children, my sisters, I threw in my share, and purchased a pole chain saw for Dad. I had extra funds so I also added a battery and charger for the pole saw. He won’t use a regular chain saw anymore. He’s wise enough to know that it would be dangerous for an 83 year old man who sometimes loses his balance to use one. A pole saw is a bit safer since a stumble would result in the saw part landing further away from him. He just needs to remove some tall bushy limbs off some shrubs and trees around the house. Nothing real major. I will keep an eye on him like I always do.
To end the day, my son, his wife and little boy came to visit. They brought wine. Dad loves wine. The Hudster (my grandson) warmed up to us quite nicely. He doesn’t see us often so prior to this visit, he was a bit leery of us. Dad and I both got hugs and The Hudster was playful and silly. I enjoyed the visit as much as Dad did. Dad loves playing with little kids, always has. I hope he has many years left to play!
Take care of your fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and all the father figures in your life. They have shaped the person you’ve become. You won’t have them forever. Treasure the stories and the memories. Happy Father’s Day, to all the great fathers out there and especially to my Dad – the BEST FRIEND and FATHER a daughter could ever have!
The other night I was trying to watch “Prodigal Son” and because Dad constantly yawns loudly, coughs, gets the sneezies, or just talks through anything I want to watch, I turned on the soundbar so I could actually hear my show. He hates the soundbar because he says the sounds are all around and it’s weird. I told him that’s what ‘surround sound’ is and that’s what a soundbar does. It gives us the ‘theater’ experience. He scoffs at that, of course.
During one of the commercial breaks, I wanted Dad to hear some audio on my phone. He couldn’t hear it even though it was turned up. He grabbed the remote to mute the sound on the tv. I realized what he had done and why, so I grabbed the remote for the soundbar to mute that as well. As soon as I muted the sound bar, Dad pushed the button on his remote. The tv sound was back on. This went on, back and forth several times before I said, “Dad! Stop pushing the button!” He says, “I’m trying to mute the sound.” “I know. Mute it and then stop pushing the button. I’ll mute the soundbar.”
He keeps pushing the damn button on the remote. “Dad! Stop pushing the button!” He’s not understanding. He says, “I’m pushing the mute button but I can still hear it.” I say, “That’s because the soundbar is on!”
He’s still pushing the damn remote button. My show comes back on and I’ve given up on the audio I wanted him to hear.
“Turn the sound back on, Dad. My show is back on.” He looks at me with an extremely confused look on his face. The soundbar is on but the tv sound is still muted. I said, “Dad, unmute the sound on the tv. The soundbar is on but not the tv.” He just looks at the tv and the remote in his hand like he’s never seen it before. I get it. He’s 83 years old but it’s getting worse and worse by the day. I picked up my tv remote (we both have one) and I unmuted the tv.
Why didn’t I just use my tv remote instead of telling him to stop pushing the buttons? Because he would have still been pushing the buttons!
After my show was over, I turned off the soundbar. He asked, “Why did you turn the sound down?” I replied, “I didn’t, Dad. I turned off the soundbar.”
It’s no wonder I’m getting so many grays! It’s no wonder I haven’t pulled it all out! Gotta love him!
The other night, Dad and I were outside walking towards the house. I heard him say something and turned to ask him what he said. He repeated it.
“Do you want me to scrape the house for the pancakes?” He asked.
“What?” I replied because I didn’t understand what he just said.
He repeated himself with more emphasis. “Do you want me to scrape the house for the pancakes?”
Again, I replied but with a little unbelief in my voice, “WHAT? Dad that doesn’t make any sense.”
He was getting angry now. “Oh, Goddammit,” he said with a raised voice.
“Sorry, Dad. I don’t understand what you’re trying to say.” I replied. I was thinking our wires must be crossed, as they say.
He repeated the same thing again, except this time he used hand motions to convey his message. “Do you want me to scrape (hands motioning like a window cleaner cleaning a window with a squeegee) the house for the pancakes (motioning his hands as if he was bouncing a ball)?
Now I was thinking does he have full-blown Alzheimer’s or is it me? Do I have dementia? Good grief!
About that time I woke up and thought to myself, thank the heavens it was just a dream!
Many, many years ago I was a little girl in Kindergarten. I loved my teacher. She was young and pretty and her name was Mrs. Libby. I loved school. Mrs. Libby made it fun and exciting to learn and it was fun playing with the other kids.
One of our lessons was about silkworms. I don’t recall how we got so many silkworms for our classroom, but some of the kids in the class were given a little cup with 4 or 5 silkworms in it, but only if we wanted to do it. Of course, I did. We had been learning about silkworms all week so I knew how to care for them once I got them home. We had a huge mulberry tree in our backyard and that’s exactly what the little silkworms ate!
I was so happy and excited to take these tiny silkworms home to watch them eat, grow and morph into beautiful silk moths. My mother let the wind out of my sails as quickly as I got into the car when she arrived to pick me up from school. She flew into a rage and I thought she was going to throw those poor little moths out in the parking lot! Her complaint was that I hadn’t asked for permission to bring them home, nor did my beloved teacher. I was just 5 years old and I was devastated that she was so angry about the little silkworms! I was allowed to keep them, but I don’t recall much about how that came about except that it was my responsibility to feed them and keep them from getting loose in the house.
It was exciting to me still, even after my mother’s temper tantrum, but I kept it to myself. I kept the little silkworms in a shoebox in my bedroom and never spoke of them, except of course to my Dad. He helped me reach the leaves in the mulberry tree that were too high for me since I was so small. Honestly, I thought my mother had hoped I couldn’t get any leaves at all so the little silkworms would die!
One day, the little silkworms spun their little cocoons and I was amazed and curious about what they were doing inside that I couldn’t see! I checked on my little silkworms day and night. I sat by my bed just staring, looking, hoping that the little moths would come out while I watched.
I don’t recall when they actually emerged from their cocoons, but I was thrilled to see them but yet sad to let them go! I knew I had to get them outside before my mother found out. I didn’t want to risk another one of her fits of rage for no good reason. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t able to put my 5-year-old feelings into words as I just did, but I’m positive the feelings were still there.
I waited for my Dad to come home so he could see the little moths, and he helped me let them go outside. It was so sad for my 5-year-old self to have to say goodbye. They fluttered and flew, right to the mulberry tree and at that moment I knew they were happy.