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Children / fatherhood

My Dad on Religion, Politics, Boyfriends, Spain, and Tarot

My Dad on Religion, Politics, Boyfriends, Spain, and Tarot

From a very early age, I knew that my dad was different from all the other dads of this world. He encouraged me to read The Exorcist when I was eight. He recited a Max Ehrmann poem to me when I asked advice about boys (Yeah, I know. Who the hell asks their dad for boyfriend advice?!) “Go placidly amid the noise and haste,” he said. “And remember what peace there may be in silence.”

My dad thought it was the height of entertainment to knock on his childrens’ bedroom windows in the middle of the night and tell them all about the ball of fire in the night sky. My dad has given away THOUSANDS of books in his lifetime, read HUNDREDS of issues of National Geographic while sitting in the bathroom, and probably hasn’t missed a SINGLE episode of Jeopardy since, like, 1984.

But it took me several decades to truly appreciate him for all his… noncomformity.

Trouble followed my dad like the smell of cigarettes and stale beer did at one time. He made mistakes. Big ones. What a let down it was when I realized that he was really, really, REALLY human. I resented him his extraordinary humanness for a lot of years and made it a part of who I was. Thankfully, though, I’ve grown up since then and became pretty human myself. So I, in all my magnanimity, decided to forgive him his imperfections in the same way that I hope my children will someday forgive mine. The truth is that I couldn’t stay mad at this guy who is trained in reading Tarot cards. Who has worked at a homeless shelter. Who sang folk songs to us when we were sad, songs about soldiers going off to war and young girls picking flowers for them. Who made sure that a nameless, faceless stranger dressed up as Santa Claus and visited us on Christmas Eve every single year until I was probably in the fifth grade. Who knows all there is to know about Safartic Jews and the Kingdom of Castile and the Judaeo-Spanish and making killer salsa.

AND, probably most important of all, who INSISTED, like a now famous politician recently has, that we pay attention to the world around us and be the change that we wanted to see in it. Listen to the news, he’d say. But don’t just TRUST the news. RESEARCH before parroting what you just heard on CNN. And DON’T TELL ME you are a Democrat until you know what the hell a Democrat stands for. Don’t say you are a Catholic until you know what the hell a Catholic stands for, either. Know your history. Know the Constitution. And read everything you can get your hands on, for crying out loud. Be able to defend your beliefs. HAVE beliefs.

So I did. All of his daughters did. I looked into all things religious and political and decided that, yes, I AM left of center and, no, I am SO not a Catholic. It took me years to come to these conclusions, but I’ve finally arrived. In the meantime, I’ve taken to writing as a way of figuring it all out. One of my sisters has taken to teaching government and world history. Another one teaches criminal justice. And another one worked for the Obama campaign and recruited ALL OF US to canvass and phone bank and make fliers and BLOG about the issues that matter to us in our spare time.

We might not know all there is to know about the crytpo-Jews and what the Suit of Wands represents in The Book of Thoth. But we ARE attempting to be the change we want to see in the world, Dad. Thank you for that.

-Catherine Dix

Mile High Mamas
Author: Mile High Mamas

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8 Comments

  1. Interesting post, Catherine. I had a more traditional father but the common factor with so many of us is we don’t appreciate them until much later. Now that I am older, I think he is one of the greatest men I know. Growing up though, I just always took him for granted.

  2. “We might not know all there is to know about the crytpo-Jews and what the Suit of Wands represents in The Book of Thoth. But we ARE attempting to be the change we want to see in the world, Dad. Thank you for that.”

    P.S. Great paragraph. šŸ˜‰

  3. Love this post. Like Mom said, “I wish I were half as interesting as this man!”

  4. Very cool post, Catherine! It’s amazing how differently we see our parents when we are children vs when we become adults. They are so human! It sounds like your dad really wanted you to be your own person .. how awesome is that?

    I had an opportunity to forgive my dad for a pretty huge wrong-doing and am so thankful for that opportunity. No matter how old I get, he’ll always be my Daddy. :o)

    http://www.coloradodentons.blogspot.com/

  5. Thanks for the comments, everyone.
    My worst fear, Amber (okay, ONE of my worst fears) is that someone I love will leave this world and I will be left feeling as though I took them for granted. I just don’t wanna live with that kind of regret!

    Not forgiving someone is so last year, don’t you think, Melissa? šŸ™‚ Thanks for dropping by.

    Liz, I’ve been cooking up a post about Mom since reading your comment. I mean, c’mon, NOT interesting?! This is the lady that made me tape a nickel to my belly during a lunar eclipse when i was pregnant so that my child wouldn’t be born with malformations!!

  6. I think our dads might have hung out together. At the Tarot card section of the Tattered Cover.

    We ARE blessed, aren’t we?

  7. What a great post! (Sorry I’m a tad late to the Comment Party…) šŸ™‚

    ~Momma
    http://thecasualperfectionist.com

  8. Welling up with tears and laughter reading your post, Catherine. You are being the change and sparking the rest of us. Thanks so much for sharing! šŸ™‚

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