To The Man I Adore

9 Jul

The year was 1982. And the bottle was Green Moss. Along with it, came explicit instructions to keep away.  So I did what all four-year-olds do. I climbed up to the cabinet, opened it, unscrewed the cap, and took in a deep breath to smell Daddy. He was at work. I missed him. This was the next best thing.  I remember the dark green liquid splashed all over the mosaic floor. The bottle lay halved in a corner. Daddy’s going to be so angry when he gets home, said Mum. And I quivered. Waited for the inevitable. Braced myself when he came in through the door. Daddy looked at me and smiled sadly. Shook his head like he was sorry. Nodded gently and walked away, my heart bumping behind him on a string. He has no idea this is when it happened, but at that precise moment, his ardent devotee was born.

The thing about having a male parent role model who is supremely gentle, emotionally available, and the center of your little girl universe is that it affects you in deep and insidious ways.  Beautiful and life-affirming ways. Quietly confidence-boosting ways. Valuing yourself comes effortlessly. Self-esteem is a non-issue, even when you know you aren’t exactly the belle of the ball. You never have to think about loving yourself because someone else has always done a damn good job of it and you are so sure the world will continue to do so. (And if it doesn’t, their loss, the people who matter do!) You know what you want in a partner. And avoid those loud, brash, supposedly macho, I’ll-be-your-savior sorts like the plague because who wants fire and brimstone when you can have sweetness and laughter and gentle support? If there is a single commonality between all the significant others I’ve had, it is this: they were all versions of my father. Adoring, patient and thorough gentlemen. And this I know, I am blessed.

Just this past weekend, Daddy spoke quietly and firmly to me about compassion and helping people even if it sometimes means being taken advantage of.  I don’t have his copious quantities of goodness. I do not trust easily, can see through people like a human x-ray, and save my kindness and loyalty for the truly worthy. Except, everyone deserves some, don’t they?  And if I can incorporate this easy to understand but oh-so-difficult to practice lesson in my life, I will not have squandered my chance to learn from the most precious and truly spiritual teacher: my own father.

Happy 66th, Daddy. This lesson and the many others you have for the world is why you need to keep blowing out those candles for the next 300 years.

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13 Responses to “To The Man I Adore”

  1. Aunty G. July 10, 2012 at 1:46 am #

    Happy Birthday to our OJ’s Dad
    Whose very mention makes her glad
    Such a good example he has set
    High kindness standards must be met
    So, because of him, OJ cannot be bad!

  2. s July 10, 2012 at 6:14 am #

    now he’s a cancerian?
    i love it when you write about him.
    happy birthday to you uncle.

  3. Anna July 10, 2012 at 8:29 am #

    I lost my father when i was eleven. And i can truly say not having a father like your father affects a girl in a trillion ways – too many to blog about. But knowing there are fathers out there like your father – makes me want to be a better daughter all the same. So, i too am going to heed his advice to you – be compassionate. Happy Father’s day – OJ’s dad!

  4. alice July 10, 2012 at 10:26 am #

    Sweet.

    Happy birthday to your dad!

  5. lurker July 10, 2012 at 10:56 am #

    that’s such a love dripping post.

  6. Orange Jammies July 10, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

    Aunty G: You’ve met him, so you know, dear Aunty G
    How precious goodness can really be
    I wish more folks had
    My sort of Dad
    Who would set their fears free

    s: Thanks. Yes, he’s a Cancerian.

    Anna: I am so sorry, girl. And yes, I’ve witnessed how absent or emotionally unavailable fathers can haunt their children lifelong. *Hugs*

    alice: Thank you!

    lurker: You do realize you’re not a lurker if you comment, right? 😛

  7. Aunty G. July 11, 2012 at 1:55 am #

    🙂

  8. Roxy July 11, 2012 at 11:12 pm #

    Your dad sounds so much like mine – I’ve said this so many times before! 🙂
    I remember my 20th birthday, I woke up to my folks waiting to wish me – I was expecting the usual parental discourse on virtues and living a life worth living and all that jazz – when dad told me that if there is one virtue he’d rather I always have, it would be compassion – that I never lose my ability to tear up just a little, when I see someone in need and that I do something for them, in whatever capacity I can.
    He is the man who, when he has no food or clothing to offer a poor man on the street, will always give him 2 coins/ notes, never one (there is a Biblical reference to this, too long to write here). An almost insignificant gesture, but something that’s stayed on, one of the many, many small and not- so- small things I’ve noticed and hope to someday live up to.

    I love the second paragraph – it puts in words so beautifully, what I wish I could say about how I was brought up. I am going to quote you, if that is fine by you.
    Happy birthday, OJ’s dad. You’re a lovely, lovely person.

  9. sukanya July 12, 2012 at 10:25 am #

    Beautiful OJ. Wishing a dad a fab day!

  10. Orange Jammies July 12, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

    Aunty G: ((Hugs)) Coming up, birthday girl! 😉

    Roxy: This is so beautiful, your dad’s advice has me tearing up! God bless him. Please feel free to quote.

    sukanya: Thanks so much, Sukanya. 🙂

  11. dipali July 14, 2012 at 10:15 am #

    All good wishes to your wonderful father- may he enjoy good health and much happiness.

  12. Phi July 17, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    This made me cry, first because it’s so touching, a close second because it’s something I don’t have. But in your details I see I do have that in someone else, my grandfather. Thank you for showing me things years of therapy hasn’t.

  13. Orange Jammies July 18, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    dipali: Thank you, Dipali! Health isn’t everything, but it’s a lot of it.

    Phi: Aww, Phi-girl. 😦 Now see, I didn’t get the grandfather piece much. Glad you did.

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