Archive for June 20th, 2010

Mein Vater

This is what I look like on laundry day.

When most of my clothes are dirty, we get unfortunate combos like this.

Charming, ain’t I? XD So today is Father’s Day, and thus I am going to write a post about my father. If anyone isn’t aware, the title to this entry is “My Father” in German (which happens to be my favorite language).

So I’m going to start off by saying that my dad and I haven’t always had the smoothest relationship. He’s not abusive or anything like that (I know plenty of people with dads like that, hence the disclaimer), and it really isn’t anyone’s fault. It’s just that a combination of me hitting my teenager years right when my parents were divorcing and not seeing him very much after that made it difficult to have any kind of regular relationship. To be fair, he also has a very demanding job, so there’s only so much energy he can expend on other things on any given day (more on that in a bit). Many times I would go visit him on weekends in high school and he would be on call, which made it difficult to do things like see movies or go anywhere further than a couple miles out of town. Not to mention we’re quite different in terms of our hobbies. While both of us enjoy reading (both my parents contribute to my love of books), we enjoy different genres of books. I like knitting, he likes football, not a lot of crossing between those. XD He isn’t a big fan of opera, although he is proud of me and likes to hear me sing (I blame this on his parents, who tried to force him to love classical music instead of “that awful rock & roll”). Not to mention, it can be difficult to relate to a teenage girl as a dad anyway. So I don’t blame anyone for the rockiness of our relationship. Sometimes things just happen that way.

Happily, in the last few years we’ve managed to heal some of the rifts that formed over the course of high school and early college. We’ve managed to find a common interest (shooting guns, interestingly enough) and we spend more time talking than we used to, and have more to talk about (adult things like politics, even).

I wish this hadn't turned out blurry, it's my favorite.

You can pretty much blame (or thank) my dad for my sense of humor. My mother firmly maintains it comes from him, and I agree. When he gets in the mood, he can be very silly and makes stupid jokes. We can almost always find something to laugh about when we’re together, especially if we’re watching stand up comedy (which I inherited my love of from him).

This is my dad holding one of his Chihuahuas.

I get a lot of my love of animals from my dad too. My mom loves animals too, but I think my dad was the reason we always had dogs when I was growing up. Dobermans, Labradors, Greyhounds, we had a lot of dogs, and of course he wasn’t going to let that change even after the divorce. When my parents divorced the family had two dogs, Lasha and Sierra. Lasha ended up staying with Papa because she loved him best, and Sierra stayed with me and Mama because she was my dog. My father also ended up re-marrying a lovely woman named Wanda, who brought a dog with her (Chi-chi the Chihuahua, now sadly deceased). They ended up adopting two other Chis, one of whom is the pupper pictured above (Tiger). Some people think it’s funny to see such a big man with such little dogs (he’s 6’5”), but he loves them just as much as he ever loved any of the other dogs we had.

Sitting in the car, waiting for the train.

My father is a pediatric intensivist. That means he works in a hospital, caring for very sick children in the PICU and NICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, respectively). He’s also the head of his department now, from what I understand, which of course means more responsibilities. But he can handle them, because he’s a great doctor. One of the best I know, in fact. He can intubate tiny babies without breaking a sweat (many doctors have trouble with that). He cares very deeply about his patients, and he is really good with kids. Plus he’s smart (well, you kind of have to be to be a doctor). When I was little, I used to think he knew everything, because he could answer questions even some of my teachers had trouble answering. If I asked him why the sky was blue, he wouldn’t just say something like “because it is”, he would actually explain the science behind the atmosphere (which I didn’t always get as a kid, but it was still pretty cool). Being a doctor is also a very difficult job. It makes it hard to have a regular life, sometimes, when you’re on call and you get invited to dinner but you have to take a separate car from your wife and/or kids in case you get called to the hospital. Or it’s New Year’s Eve and you’re the only person who can’t drink because you might get a page. Or you have to leave your daughter at the movie theater because you have to go to the hospital to keep a kid from dying. It can be really hard, sometimes. I remember when I was younger, it seemed like he was tired all the time, and I couldn’t understand why he would come home at 2 PM and sleep instead of playing with me (when he’d been up since 1 AM the night before trying to keep a kid alive). It’s hard to have your kids not understand why you can’t be there all the time. It’s hard to have a self-absorbed teenager resent you for not coming to her choir concert when you live two hours away and are on call. But he does it, because he loves his job. He loves helping people, especially children. And he’s really good at it. If I had a kid who was sick, I wouldn’t think of going anywhere else.

My dad and I still have some problems that need to be solved. But for the most part, I love him and I’m proud to have him as my dad. Happy Father’s Day, Papa.


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