I’m about to get real
real corny with you – this is a post about my hero, my dad, AND is written on a Sunday, clearly breaking the no post weekend rule. THAT’S how important my dad is to me.
I suppose hero is the wrong word choice – my dad has never pulled a cat from a burning building, or caught a thief who snatched an old woman’s purse. Hell, he doesn’t even break for squirrels. But, none of that matters to me, b/c he’s pretty much 80% responsible for the awesome person I am today.
A little background – my pops is an old man. Straight up – he’s turning 68 on Tuesday (I’m his oldest and only 26). He’s been retired since I was in 8th grade and has basically just hung around the house since, living the dream. He worked his ass off my entire childhood (traveled constantly, late nights at the office) to make sure that our house was paid off and we had everything we needed. We didn’t always get everything we wanted (ahem, name brands), but we never went without.
My dad and I have always had a unique relationship. Early in high school he tried to be tough (‘I expect straight As’), but after my brothers turned out to be less than ideal academics (‘I expect A B C honor roll’ ??!) he morphed into the lax, funny dude he is today.
To my recollection, we’ve only had one fight that lasted more than a day – and it was my fault to begin with. I was the one who broke curfew to stay out all night with some guy and then lied and said the movie had run late (way to go 14 year old me!) Other than that, we shouted over where I’d go to college, but in the end I gave in. And thank god! Otherwise I would have ended up at a subpar school close to home simply b/c my then-boyfriend was there. Pops 1, me 0.
My dad has stood by practically every decision I’ve made, even those I’m sure he could tell weren’t going to work from the get go. He scrimped and saved early on so that he could provide me with 4 years of school debt free. Hell, just recently in a moment of insane irresponsibility I put a $500+ flight on his cc simply b/c I wanted to get home from a business trip 12 hours earlier, and when he called all he asked was if I would be home in time to join him for dinner.
This is getting sappy and long winded, but I have one last point to talk about. My dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 3 years ago. It started with a slight tremor (‘fack Dad, stop shaking that damn newspaper!’) and has progressed to a relatively crippling disease. Luckily, he’s still able to function independently, but it has affected his motor skills in that both his hands shake to the point where detailed work, such as writing and typing, has become arduous and taxing. He currently takes medicine that is supposed to lessen the symptoms, but it’s not capable of fully eliminating them. Thus, he has a few good hours in the morning before the medicine begins to wear off and make him nauseous and dizzy.
It breaks my heart to see my strong, independent dad so miserable. He tries to joke about it (‘what’s the point of me getting an ipad? It’d end up like an etch-a-sketch’) and keep the severity from my brothers and me, but I know it’s taking its toll. To try to stay sane, he builds kayaks in our gazebo out back. These turn out beautifully – all shiny with lacquer and intricately detailed – but there’s always the underlying concern regarding him and a table saw (80/20 joking). He’s since branched out into hand carved paddles as well, but the market for these is a bit, um, niched.
He no longer goes kayaking or bike riding solo. A quick aside – his bike is now this bad ass incumbent trike with this bright orange flag on a pole off the back, so cars can see him as he goes whizzing by. My dad doesn’t have too many friends (by choice), but the few in his crew of bros have been as supportive as they can by going with him when their schedules permit. And of course, the OG bros – my brothers – live at home and try to keep him young. (Pops says he’s the only 68 year old living in a dorm.)
- ‘you’re my boy blue!’
Enough rambling. Today my dad was supposed to go to the Nats game with my brother and his gf (a Yankees fan – blech), but is having a bad day symptom-wise. The more responsible of my two irresponsible brothers called to let me know and to ask me to stop by to check on him, so I’ll be spending the afternoon with him – watching the Germany game, and soaking up some QT with Pops – the man, the myth, the legend. Father’s Day is supposed to recognize fathers everywhere, but I say to hell with that. All I care about is making sure my dad knows that I’d do anything for him. But the beauty is, he’d never ask me for a thing.