Sunday, September 07, 2008

Today

Today is my dad's birthday.

I feel a little bad that I'm not down there to celebrate it with him ... but, bless him, he understands. In fact, I think I took it harder than he did. ^_^

I have an interesting relationship wtih my father. My parents separated at the end of my fifth-grade year. The divorce was finalized when I was twelve. Since second grade, he had been living in the city for independent living classes and to work, so I hadn't seen him all that much. It was almost odd during 1990-1991 to see him every day. The good kind of odd, though.

My dad has Ushers Syndrome - Type Two. He was born with a moderate to profound hearing loss and retinitis pigmentosa, which basically means that his retinas has deteriorated over time, leaving him blind because he cannot see light anymore.

He loves to socialize. He loves to talk about trains (especially model trains -- ESPECIALLY the ones that you can sit on, those backyard railroad kinds) and logging. He used to be a logger, back when he could see well enough, before I was born. He loves See's candy. My fall-back presents for him are chocolate-covered Macadamia nuts (to make up for the ones that I crawled out of my playpen and devoured [well, I sucked off all the chocolate and spit out the nuts] my first Christmas.) and a sampler of See's candies.

When I was little, he was the stay-at-home parent while my mom taught school. We'd walk down the street to her classroom and stay for lunch and I'd play with her class on the playground. Or we'd take a walk downtown and go to the bakery and pick up a beehive cake. Or look in the photography/art shop. Or pick up the mail. Or talk to Jake and Dennis (Dad's friends in the Lion Club) at the Auto Shop/gas station. Or we'd walk the other direction, past the Indian Reservation (before it was the casino) to Nana and Pop-Pop's house. Or, in summer, we'd walk down the creek to their house (this wasn't uncommon, until I got bronchitis one summer).

After my folks separated, he got a girlfriend. I took that as a huge betrayal. What, my mom wasn't good enough? (My parents really just didn't suit. But I still could have taken it better.) I didn't like her. I hoped that she'd just disappear and go away. She died of a brain tumor. I try not to feel guilty. Dad really did like her.

I really got along well with his second girlfriend. I've lost touch with her, though. Upon first meeting, we were both a little surprised. (We thought each other would be taller. Dad told Karen that I was about his height. He's 5'11. I'm 5'5, a good head shorter than he is. *grins* ... the only picture I'd seen of her, they were both sitting down with their heads at about the same level and I could only see from about the shoulders up. Karen is, if I recall correctly, just a hair shorter than I am.)

Dad's third girlfriend was the mom of a classmate of mine. A classmate that was in my mom's third-grade class years ago.

Now he's with L. They do suit well. They've been together, quite happily, for nearly ten years now. They work on their house and watch HGTV. I think it's a good match. L and I get along well, which is always a plus.

For a long bit of my young-adult life, I wasn't sure how Dad felt about me. I mean, I knew -theoretically- that he loved me ... I'm his daughter and all. But I wasn't totally sure. When I was in a car accident (I was really fine ... the truck was almost totaled, though), I was so nervous to call Dad about it, since I didn't know how much was still owed on the truck (He had bought it for girlfriend #3. When they broke up, it went to me. I needed a vehicle and he couldn't own it, since he's blind). It still really touches me that he told me, "We can always replace the truck. We can't replace you." (I'm verklempt just TYPING it.)

Even though we sometimes don't have a ton in common (He's agnostic, I'm LDS. He loves trains, I love books. He loves rhubarb, I can barely tolerate the stuff ...), I do love him very much. And I'm trying to work on our relationship ... to make up for the time after the divorce where I wouldn't see him everytime that he came down to visit. I was a total punk. I should have been more mature ... because it was hurting me, too, not to see him.

Some random trivia:

Whenever I see the clock say 9:52 or 7:52, I think of my Dad ... since those numbers are all involved in his birthdate. (When it's 8:39, I think of my hometown, since that's the prefix for all the phone numbers there. And I call 8:08 "Bob time." It was a joke that my first boyfriend and I threw about.) (Yes, I think I DO realize how odd this all makes me.)

I get some of my sense of humor from my dad ... and I once shocked the missionaries by repeating one of his jokes at dinner when I was little. ... I didn't know that it was a dirty joke. I just thought it was funny. I mean, my DAD said it. It had to be fine, right? Right?!?

Karen, my dad's third girlfriend after the divorce, recognized quite a few of my facial expressions from my dad. It kind of made me laugh.

I need to find a recipe for that beehive cake for my dad.

I know that Dad doesn't read this blog ... but I do want him to know that I love him very much. Even if I am, as Pop-pop would say, an "ornery little critter."

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