So, father’s day. The day we celebrate the parent who is often overlooked. Maybe this is unusual, but I (a female) feel like my father has had a much larger influence on upbringing than my mother has.
This is not to say that my mother is an alien to me or anything, she is fantastic. I know how lucky I am to have grown up with my married, committed, parents who have never once fought. My mother is a person who tries so hard that she burns herself out. From staying up for days to finish a photoshop project to making sure that the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, and Santa all had slightly different handwriting. More on her later, this is about the men in my family.
My dad is an enigma to me. He’s the tough as nails motorcycle enthusiast. He loves Hello Kitty. He is the conspiracy theorist. He is the Existential-Catholic-Responsible Anarchist-Libertarian. He’s the guy you want as a boss and a friend but who would kick his own brother out before doing a poor job at something. He loves women and holds my mother above any other.
If dad hated country music, so did I. He was my superhero! He fixed things by touching them and was the strongest guy I’d ever seen. He’s the reason I rarely swear, never thought of drugs, and respected the law.
He’s been everything from a bouncer to a janitor, always helping people. His willingness to do anything for anyone has payed off many times. When we needed a new porch there was a man who helped build it for the low price of an old lawnmower.
Dad is so ridiculously humble as well. He pretends to be a cynical old geezer, but just seeing him on the phone with his employees proves otherwise. He will stay on the line for an hour explaining simple boiler maintenance to someone who should know already, never getting angry. He went into work every day-off he had at the factory, despite the fact that they didn’t pay him for a month; a blow our family never recovered from.
Speaking of which, he has never been frugal. He has never had money. He filed for bankruptcy twice. However, he has never shied away from the Sargento cheese and the Salen’s hot dogs; expensive for us. He buys anything with the word “new” on it. Including our giant flat-screen tv.
While my dad is the most kind-hearted person I’ve met he’s anything but soft. He will fire anyone who doesn’t live up to his expectations, but does it in the most gentle way possible. When his brother got into a fight with the neighbors which ended up breaking a window, my uncle was kicked out of the house that morning. After my dad sent apology notes to the entire street for the noise.
My grandfather was a policeman. I will always remember the story Dad tells of watching “Papa” gently draw the man across the street out of his barricaded home before grabbing him by the neck and flipping him onto the hood of the police car.
My great-grandfather was in the military, but we don’t like to talk about Opa’s adventures captaining the U-boat…