Words-of-MineNo matter what the day brings, deep down I know it really is a good day because I have the man of my dreams, a kitty who loves me, a roof over my head and I live in paradise.
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2011-11-01 7:37 PM
Who Is My Favorite Parent?
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"It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was." - Anne Sexton
My favorite parent was my father. I feel being first born and even though I was not a boy, I was the apple of my father's eye. I am grateful that mother allowed Dad to name me. Em is short for Emily Marie. Emily was my paternal birth grandmother's name and Marie was my second paternal grandmother's middle name. I feel pretty lucky that both women had good strong names and I like my name. Although, I have some friends call me Emily and others call me Em. So, I go by mz. em. The mz. em came later from a former boyfriend's father began calling me that and it stuck. I also have adopted nieces and nephews who call me Auntie Em since I used to live in Kansas. And, I have friends who still call me Auntie Em.
Back to my father; my Dad was about six feet tall in his stocking feet. He was a slender man but then he was a very active man too.
Some of the jobs I remember he held were:
+ Logging in the woods
+ Working for the county road department of which I remember him plowing roads in the winter time
+ Mail man
+ Caretaker of a boy's summer camp but this was year round work
+ An ASAE mechanic
+ A locksmith
+ He worked in a hardware store
And these are just the ones I remember.
My Dad was a soft spoken man. He was a good storyteller. Other than mother and maybe a few others I do not know about, he was well liked by every one. He had lots of male friends. These guys all liked to go hunting and fishing with my Dad.
I would love to sit under the kitchen table when the guys would be sitting around the table telling stories. My Uncle A would often times be one of them. They sure cracked themselves up. I seem to recall myself having a chuckle or two. I don't remember any bad language but I'm sure a few words would come out. I feel I liked hearing their voices. I kept as quiet as possible so I wouldn't be shooed from under the table and sent into the other room.
I liked my Dad. He was easy going. Oh and to do something he felt was not appropriate . . . my-oh-my and heavens forbid. Dad would have me stand in front of him as he was sitting in his living room chair. In that low quiet voice he would state how disappointed he was in my actions and why they were not appropriate. Since he spoke quietly I had to lean in to hear all he said. The longer he spoke, the smaller I felt. Not that he was berating me but the fact I had disappointed my father was the end of the earth for me.
When he was done scolding, it was done. Sometimes it felt easier to have mother scream, yell and spank me than to stand in front of Dad and to know he was not happy with me. However, I remember more of what Dad said to me than my mother's screaming and yelling. I believe Dad was trying to impart to me what integrity was.
Granted, I didn't really learn about integrity until I got into the rooms of Al-Anon.
My Dad was a fun person. He didn't really play with me or my sister. Instead, there was walking in the woods. He would be telling stories or pointing out the flora and fauna and telling us what they were. With all that walking, I was never afraid to enter the woods by myself and walk for hours climbing trees and looking for wildlife.
Then there was the hunting and fishing. I wasn't much on killing live animals or birds even though they would appear on our dinner table. It was fun to walk with Dad and my uncles and carry my gun. They would let me do some target practicing and this was good enough for me.
Fishing was another thing altogether. We would fish from a pier or go out in a canoe to fish. I had my own pole and at the time I was small enough that Dad or an uncle would bait my hook and if I caught a fish, they would take it off the hook for me. Again, this bounty would be on our table later in the day. My Aunt D or Aunt E could cook the best fish!
Whether I caught anything was not of big importance. It was exciting don't get me wrong but I was happy just to be. This is another thing I feel I learned from my Dad was Zen. I do not know he would have called it Zen but it was being in the moment and being happy with that moment.
Because of these times, I wonder if this is why I like being by myself. Here I sit at the dining room table and I watch the humming birds and hear them sing. The blue jays come to feed and talk to me. Ah, life is good.
My Dad was a very patient man at least with me. My 13th Christmas my maternal grandfather bought me a bicycle and every summer after that; I would take my bicycle apart and clean all the parts and pieces. It never failed; I always ended up with an extra one or two bolts or nuts I didn't know where they came from. And, every year, my Dad would take the leftovers and somehow figured out where they went and put everything back together. For all I know, there is a jar out there labeled, "Parts and Pieces of Emily's Bicycle." Ha, that would make me laugh if that was so.
When Dad gardened, I gardened. When Dad was the caretaker for the camp, if he was painting, I would get me some boards, a small can of paint and a brush and I would paint too. If he was building something and a hammer and nails were involved; then I would get some pieces of wood with a hammer and nails and I would put together my stuff. If he had to plane some wood, I would get my own wood piece and a plane and do what he was doing. It was so much fun being included in what his job was.
I would have to say, I was being kept busy and not bugging him and he knew where I was. I do feel with all this hands-on stuff he gave me is why I have any mechanical aptitude at all.
Dad was not a demonstrative person but I always knew he loved me. He might be angry with something I had done but the love was always there.
Little did I know until I grew up exactly what my Dad had to deal with. The first indication of a problem was when I learned he was an alcoholic. Granted he was a happy drunk at least that is what I saw.
I know he went away twice for rehab. I was so worried during those times. I felt a loss and a fear: Was he coming back? He and eventually mother joined AA and that helped. Though Dad did have slips, he would bring himself back to the program.
Later on, it was at my step-mother's funeral, I learned my Dad had been diagnosed as a manic-depressive now called bi-polar, the more severe of the two diagnoses. I learned he had attempted suicide several times. It was a wonder I still had a Dad. However, he had always been one to pull himself up, dust himself off and begin again to live life.
My Dad may have not have been the best dad, but he was mine and I was glad he was my dad. We didn't always see eye to eye but we always worked things out. He was that kind of man. I have a photo of him the Amazing Mz. M took of him and it is to that photo I will have conversations with him. I don't always get a response but I do gain a sense of peace.
My Dad was a great man and that is what I remember.
-- "Taltos" - Anne Rice
-- "The Daily Book of Art/356 readings that teach, inspire & entertain" - day 35 + 36
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