Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Daddy-O

The relationship I have with my dad is one that I've come to realize is something quite special. I didn't always know that, but in recent years I've realized that not everyone has such a bond with their father. But for as long as I can remember we've shared a closeness that I've only had with 2 or 3 other people over my lifetime.
When I was young and we had a wood furnace in our house he would wait until the weekends to chop wood, because he knew how much I liked to be with him. He would powersaw the trees, then throw all the wood on the tailgate of the truck and I would stack it all into nice rows closer to the cab.
I remember going for walks in the summers with him. We would stroll along, and he would hold my hand, and I remember thinking that he was the most handsome man in the world, and that he was my one and only hero.
Sometimes he would take me to the coffee shop with him when he was meeting his CN buddies for coffee. He would buy me any treat I wanted and would laugh while I called each of the railroaders by their nicknames like they were my own friends.

I remember when his father passed away - he was 34, which would have made me 8. He wouldn't talk to anyone about it - but I always knew when he was hurting, and I would ask him questions about his dad. He would tell me a little each time, but sometimes would just begin to cry softly. Each time that would happen I would climb up on his lap and tell him that everything would be okay. And he would pull me close and we would cry together. It never scared me when he cried like that because I knew he was hurting and sometimes you just needed to cry. To this day he has never spoken to even my mom about how he felt when his dad died.

He has always made me promise that during my life I would try anything once. Be it food, a new hobby, or whatever - he always says that you can't decide you don't like something until you've tried it once. That was a wonderful mindset to instill in me, because without it, I'm sure there are many things I never would have tried for fear of not liking them.

Now, here is something you need to know about my mom's family, before you can really understand my dad and his.
My mom comes from this large family of shy people. They are always worried about what everyone will think, or if they will hurt someone's feelings and that sort of stuff. They would rather stand around for 15 minutes, not deciding mind-boggling things like, oh, say, where to eat - than for someone to make a decision.
That's when I will pipe-up and say "Okay people, we are going to The Chocolate Moose for dinner - if any of you want to join me, I'm leaving right now." And each time, they will all follow along and have a wonderful time, because someone else made the decision. These people are not what you would call decision-makers.

My dad's family, on the other hand, are polar opposites to that way of thinking. They will say "This is what we're doing, this is when we're doing it, and if you don't like it then don't come." My dad is a lot like that, but in a more subdued, nicer way. He will be matter of fact and to the point, and does not accept bullshit. Period.
I happen to have been blessed with these same qualities. Loud, opinionated, direct, and honest. Occassionally my foot does get planted in my mouth, but for the most part I find that these are beneficial qualities to have. I'm rarely left in a situation with my mouth hanging open, I don't very often let people push me around, and things seem to run more smoothly if there is someone giving direction.
My mom doesn't seem to understand the relationship that my dad and I have. When we're laughing about something ridiculous she will roll her eyes and walk out of the room. There are things she will ask him to do for years, and then I'll say "Hey dad, have you ever thought about doing this?" And he'll listen to me excitedly and say "Let's do it right now!" and then we'll go out and do whatever it was. This irritates my mom - but I honestly think he listens to me because I always suggest we do whatever it was together - instead of just telling him to do it. She has often pointed out to me that my dad is wrapped around my little finger, and it's obvious it drives her crazy. But besides that, I like a lot of the same things as he does - tools are one of the major things we have in common. Everytime he gets a new tool he knows I'll be excited too - and in the summers we spend hours in the garage and in his workshop - working on refinishing furniture or taking things apart to fix them.
When I was very little I would go downstairs with him to his workshop while he worked on something. He would sit me down on my little stool with a 2x4, a screwdriver and a bucket of screws and tell me that my job was to put as many screws into that piece of wood as I could - he needed to test how strong it was. Some of the 2x4's he would sit me at were actually studs for the (then unfinished) basement walls. I spent so much time down there with him that I"m sure he had to replace some of the boards because I had put so many screws in.

When I was older and pushed my luck with staying out late, or mouthing off, or not doing something I should have he would always yell. To which I would yell right back that he was the meanest person EVER, and that I never wanted to talk to him again, then would stomp off to my room crying. Usually within 10 minutes he would be in my room, softly explaining to me why I was being punished or why he had to get mad, and he always said "it's because I love you punkin, and if this is what it takes for you to learn your lesson, then that's just the way it has to be." And I would always calm down and know that he was right.

I always knew that my dad would be one of my favourite people in the world. He was very opinionated but would listen to me when there was something I disagreed with him on. And the older I get the more I love him. We get along so well, and he listens to me when I talk, comforts me when I'm upset, just sits with me when he knows I need quiet, tells me when I need to be told, and loves me unconditionally. We laugh about so many things that he's like a friend I've had my whole life - he will dance with me in the middle of a busy store, sing at the top of his lungs with me while we cook dinner, and just be there for me - whenever for whatever.

My dad - one of the greatest loves of my life.

9 Comments:

Blogger Reggie said...

Wonderful post! I miss my father soooo much. He died when I was 26. Enjoy him every minute.

7:15 PM  
Blogger Logziella said...

That was beautiful! It brought tears to my eyes!

8:44 PM  
Anonymous Judy said...

Yes, Daddy's are so special. I miss my Daddy so much. He died 24 years ago but he is still so much a part of me and my life.

8:34 AM  
Blogger mike said...

hey ali...
great minds think a like. I just blogged about my parents. Not as heartfelt as your post though.

Great pictures btw. Never saw lil' ali before :)

9:26 AM  
Blogger Irene said...

Aw, that makes me think about my dad and how it's been awhile since I've visited with him.
Nice post- you got everyone thinking about their fathers. I'm definitely calling mine tonight.

10:07 AM  
Blogger Mojonah said...

How wonderful to be so close to your dad! I love the baby pictures of you! Too cute!

10:07 AM  
Blogger John said...

My wife is like that with her dad. As a teenager she used to help him work on his cars, etc. It is a great thing to see.

2:19 PM  
Blogger Princess of the Universe said...

Ali that was so amazing!
I'm a daddy's girl too, so I can completely relate to your adoration of your father.

4:50 PM  
Blogger Peach Pod said...

I love the photos!!!

5:13 PM  

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