My dad’s awesome.
I think I feel that way because I’ve become him — and by that, I mean I’m an adult, by his example.
Pop is funny, and has a good heart. He’s also a little discombobulated, but that doesn’t stop him from being able to laugh at himself. He has a great smile, perfect teeth, curly hair, golden skin. And he loves my mom as much as he did when they got married 39 years ago.
But he also doesn’t take anyone’s crap, either. He gives everyone leeway for the most part, but he questions most everything, intelligently. He knows the importance of thinking and re-thinking your position so as to not be stagnant at a call to action.
Pop is so smart and full of life, but he gets tired sometimes. I never realized the level of exhaustion that comes merely from living, and he worked through it while raising five kids. Also, I think he doesn’t want to let anyone down, at the expense of his comfort.
He is also an individual, and more than my dad. He loves jazz, beer, talk radio, baby back ribs. He converses with light in his eyes and joy in his voice. He gets frustrated, and angry. Sometimes he doesn’t want to be bothered. But he’s always there.
I don’t have children, but at 32, I’m the age that Mom and Pop had three children and me on the way… I just can’t wrap my head around it. Mom worked days, and Pop worked nights, so more often than not it was just me and him, joined at the hip while my siblings were at school. We’d run errands together, have picnics in our backyard, ham and cheese sandwiches with yellow mustard on bread rolls. It was fun, for me. I think he had fun, too, even though being an adult can be far from it.
I distinctly remember going to classes with him at Cal State Northridge, where he was studying be a teacher. Sometimes we’d stop by the vending machine beforehand — Fig Newtons for him, a Snickers bar for me. I didn’t like fig, and remember him once getting strawberry to see if I’d eat that instead. I applaud him for trying, though, because Snickers always won.
Even while writing this, I didn’t really think about what it takes, not only to go back to school as an adult, but to bring your child with you. And I’ve seen it, as a graduate myself — fellow students bringing their children to class at all hours of the day (or night). Pop did that all the time. I even remember his graduation day, which at the time didn’t seem extraordinary because — well, that’s what he was supposed to do, right?
Little did I know then that not everyone’s father does that. Not everyone’s father is around, by choice or otherwise.
Over the years I’ve found that there seems to be an unspoken bond that keeps things together — the universe, our bodies, our sanity, family, whatever. The relative understanding of that — what it takes, what you’ll do — just clicked somehow. And it’s because of that, that it’s home, every single time. That’s my Pop.
It’s pretty awesome.