If only I could send you a carrot cake
for your birthday–
the one that got bigger every year that you repeated the story—
but I have never seen a box that big,
so I will start with this poem
for my father…
who not only paid the bills,
and did my taxes
but also told us nightly “3 fleas” stories
and insisted we “rise above the mediocrity”
over and over.
He taught me where to kick a man
if I needed to,
showed up at the front door with an axe
when my sisters’ two friends showed up unexpected
late one night.
My father who taught me to drive,
and didn’t seem to mind that I painted my
’83 VW rabbit with rainbows and zen haiku,
and who bought me a new car
when my hippie boyfriend’s car broke down and
he started using mine.
My Dad still shows up
and does what’s needed,
At a time when she wouldn’t let any one else hold her
besides Arthur and I,
she let my Dad.
And back when I was a girl
he climbed up mountains with us, singing
“You May Be Right, I May Be Crazy…”
at the top of his lungs.
He took us skiing
and joked with us about the
“prepare to unload” signs
toward the bottom of the lift.
He took my side
when I jumped out of a boat
in the middle of a lake
despite protests from Mr. “Up Bup Bup”,
who was more particular in his ways.
I remember one night
when my Mom was out playing bridge,
my Dad entertained my high school friends and I
by demonstrating how “middle-aged women” walk…
and he sends us “status reports”
to this day
about how many “2-seaters” he sees
at the airport on his way to visit.
One time I forgot my toothbrush
and then checked my email
and I had one from my Dad with the subject,
“toothbrush”. All it said was,
“How old is your toothbrush?”
That was a step up from his bathroom jokes…
Even though he is a guy
he listened to my every “Intuitive Mom” radio show
and is the first to comment
when my newsletter or Facebook post
has a typo.
loves to send lists of the books he’s read
and the new tricks he’s learned at the gym
and while I never liked his friend “Jack Daniels”,
he taught me how to see spirits— to know
whether he was in his body or not,
and this showed me there was a “me”
besides my body,
that everyone had that essence…
this changed me forever.
I mimicked his yearning for depth
and his disappointment in the lack of it
in the way so many live,
his assumption that we can achieve
anything we desire,
his work ethic.
He taught me to set boundaries
And to be bold, smart and expressive.
He assumed I could calculate the square root
of 144, and so I did—
and I recently realized I do the same with my daughter—
I assume she is capable of anything,
and everyone comments
how strong and aware she is.
He asks me sometimes
what to eat
and what vitamins to take
and so I tell him all I know.
I hope he lives to be 100
I’m glad I didn’t send a carrot cake,
not only because he would lie about how big it was
but because I’d like to hear those types of jokes
for a long time…
and if anyone has something to boast about,
We never know how long we have,
but I know I will always be able to hear his spirit,
no matter what.
I love you, Dad, and thank you for everything.
I’m so glad that as the spark of life I was before conception, I found you!
May this be a delightful day where you rise above the mediocrity and sing your own song.