April 2018

Sunday, June 20, 2010

NL #42: My Dad

NL #42: "I could tell he's your dad," said my freshman student Kerri when my father came to visit my classes in one of my first year's of teaching. I asked why, expecting her to say we look alike, which lots of people say so I guess must be true. Instead, she said, "He laughs at your corny jokes."

We do have similar senses of humor. We both find repetition over the years especially amusing. We also like to pull one another's chain, though he often gets in trouble with mom when she thinks I'm mad, so I've had the advantage over the last few years. During the Sweet Sixteen NCAA Men's Basketball tournament this year, I called Dad in the final minute of a close Duke game and he hung up on me. Mom was worried I was mad. The next game, he called me, but I got the upper hand the following nail biter. Neither of us called in the final game. With only seconds to go, it wasn't clear who would win, and no North Carolina basketball fan dabbles in such dangerous territory.

We also both love ice-cream, though he can eat lesser ice-cream with chocolate sauce on top and I insist on high quality stuff. Years ago, when he and Mom visited Seattle, we had ice-cream for lunch. That was a good day.

There's more: we both like words and exactitude in language. We both work for children's causes: I work in education and he works in the medical field and the political field for children's health issues. Both of us value integrity.

We both try to understand perspectives different than our own. When I lived in Dallas, I watched tele-evangelists from time to time to try to understand the attraction. Now, when I can stand it, I listen to talk radio. When Mom and Dad and I lived in Wichita Falls, Texas (I was too young to remember it), we attended a conservative church and Dad sought from that point forward always to attend a church more liberal than he is. I respect that.

Both us can appear to be listening when we are not. If you're talking with him and he starts scratching at the thin part on the middle of his head, he's not listening. Ann used to get frustrated with me when we had discussed something that I later did not remember. Now she says to me, "Okay, what did we just say?"

Another similarity is that we can have strong opinions. Sometimes, this strength leads to arguments, often about gender or politics. He seldom knows how we got into an argument as he hasn't learned to recognize the land mines he seems to lay for himself.

We both love to travel. Before my tumors, we went on an Elder Hostel trip to Alaska together. At first, I felt I received a chilly reception, but once the group learned that I was his daughter and not his trophy wife, the group embraced me and him. We shared a room for over two weeks and experienced no tension. We were proud of ourselves.

Throughout this tumor battle, Dad has been absolutely supportive. He has come to Seattle to meet with doctors, sat by my hospital bed for hours, and even learned to scoop up his own ice-cream so that Ann amd Mom could take care of me.

On this father's day as on all days, Dad, I feel so grateful that you are in my life. I love you. Mary

1 comment:

  1. What a great post, Mary! I feel very fortunate to know both of your 'rents! It's great too, to hear you deconstruct some of the finer details of your relationship with your Dad.

    Love, Pea


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