Peeing my pants

November 29, 2011
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My dad. How can one accurately describe the feelings they have towards a family member when they have been accumulated over years of experiences and memories. The best I can do when it comes to describing my father is hilarious, loving, supportive, and an invincible force. But these words won’t nearly mean as much to any one as they do to me, so to really get you to know my father I want you to think of someone you love, someone you really love, think of all their quarks, their characteristics. I want that love to flow through you and I want you to understand what kind of love I have towards my father, my daddy, my dad that was once a healthy, strong man.

I knew he was home when I heard that familiar creaking from the door. Every night, same time, for years, my hero would come through that door. I would giggle and hide, and he would find me laughing, his face crinkling into a smile. Other days I would greet him with some friendly punches as he claimed that he taught me everything I knew. I craved his attention, his approval.

We shared our humor as if it came straight through his DNA to me. My dad could have me peeing my pants in seconds, laughing until it hurt. Whenever I talked to him I would walk away with a smile. Visitors had no chance with me and my dad together, laughing so hard they cried.
“A spitting image” relatives would claim. I was proud of my dad, and I was proud to be an image of him. I couldn’t have asked for a better father.
But this summer something changed, my dad was acting a bit different. He still cracked jokes and laughed at mine, but I’m not stupid, something was wrong. I could see the pain behind his eyes I could see how easily he tired. So I cornered my mother.
“What’s wrong with dad?” I demanded
“He’s sick.” She responded in a cautious voice that sounded as if she was trying to sooth a tiger about to pounce.
“I’m not a kid, you can use big words mom.”
She looked at me as if evaluating the outcomes of her decisions and then finally said calmly,
“Well, were not sure what is exactly wrong with him yet. But they are guessing he has cancer.”
Anger, sorrow, confusion, and waiting, occupied the next few weeks. How bad was it? What was the cure?
I could feel the difference in the air as my dad stopped going to work. The awkwardness that evolved as we all became accustomed to this idea of dad being sick. Of watching your father, a man that never cried in front of you, that never got sick, with his hunched over body in the bathroom, of hearing his sudden groans of pain. You never think that there will be a time when you don’t know how to act in front of you own father! In front of your loving daddy that you used to play monster with and beat up because you knew you could get away with it. He tried to act normal but that is a hard act to do well when you yourself are trying to get a hold of the mixed up chaos that fills your own life now.
So we waited for the hovering news. How bad was it? But answers aren’t always what you want. I cried. I cried because my dad was broken. And there wasn’t anything to fix this problem.
Our kitchen, my kitchen, an obnoxiously light green color with appliances meant for the seventies, and old wooden uncomfortable chairs. Sitting on those chairs were my dad and me. Just sitting. Dust moots floating in the air lit by the summer sun shining through the dirty windows. I could feel a thick blanket of emotions separating me and my father. And I began to think. About my dad: about my life: about change: My thoughts were cut off with the all too familiar whining of my dog, Puppin.
“Can you take him out?” My dad said in a low bored voice.
I instinctively groaned and rolled my eyes while saying “you’re lucky” to him.
My dad looked at me. He stared at me and I shamefully avoided his eyes as he said “Really?”
“Too soon?” I said back with laughter mixed in, making it hard to understand me.
My dad looked at me again and then started to laugh so hard the house shook. And we laughed. Then we laughed more. And then I took my dog out still laughing.
I realized then that nothing will ever change the fact that he is my dad and that I am his daughter. It is not so much that I might have crossed the line with a corny joke but the fact that I can, because he is my dad and I’m allowed to cross certain lines with him. No amount of change will ever take away my power to be happy with my father. No amount of bad news will stop me and my dad from cracking jokes and laughing until it hurts, because that is who we are and he is my dad and I am his daughter ,forever.

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