This picture pretty much captures the life of my dad. Father to three daughters, husband for sixty years, loving pet owner to mostly female dogs and cats*. Surrounded by girls and loving it. And so when we have girl talk - or even when we aren't but he sees that there is a conversation going on - he has to get in on the action of it. And we know this, so tease him about it. A lot. Girl talk, we say even if we are just talking about what we did last night. Girl talk, even if we are just watching a video someone shared on Facebook about kittens. Girl talk, when we are just getting something to eat.
It's a standing joke in our family and a good one. We laugh every time.
Before I continue, I just need to make note that I am not writing this alone. I was. But then I read this to my sister and she became intrusive. Just like my father sometimes does. (This is a joke…more about this later) And so even though I am using I and My, you may want to picture in your head We and Our because this writing is now a team effort – my sister and I writing together. This is not the first time we’ve written together. We wrote a book. Here is the link in case you want to buy it. Not that this writing is about that. It’s about our dad. But hey, we can’t miss an opportunity to self-promote now can we?? Ok, Dad… Here we go…
My dad is a great playmate. From when we were really young we remember playing outside with him and our "girl" dog Blue. She was a Doberman, too, just like my perfect and beautiful and brilliant and oh so smart Doberman Dog, Nava. We would play football in the street - all three sisters can throw a great spiral. And we would wrestle on the lawn. And laugh. A lot. We still kind of wrestle. If we’re walking anywhere there will likely be a swerving into each other, or a leaning on each other in mock fatigue and the laughter will begin again.
My dad always has us laughing. Literally every time we see each other, every conversation that we have together, there is a moment or more where we laugh. We have this same sense of humor when things are funny or even when they are not. Its a laughing through life thing that makes the journey bearable when it seems hard and a capturing of moments that are joyous and light and sitting in the humor of those, too.
My dad is a great debater. And loves it. The sport of that certain conversation where the sides are quickly drawn. And the beauty of his love of this sport is that he can switch sides quickly. It's not necessarily the issue at hand as it is the dialog that ensues. It's fun to engage with him. Sometimes. When he's really in it, it can be hard to keep up. He's that good. Even for me. (Don't tell him I said this)
In keeping with this debater theme, my dad is also somewhat of an instigator. Like he will root for any other team in existence if they are playing the Patriots. Which he insists on calling the Patri-ots. He does this just to create that competitive dynamic because he loves it so much. He gets a twinkle in his eye, you can see it happening, and he’s ready to rumble.
My dad talks with his hands. Because he thinks he’s Italian even though he’s a Jew from Brooklyn. My sister and I have inherited this from him. This talking with our hands. In fact we cannot speak without this. Oh, and my sister’s daughter is taking Italian next year in school. She told him that she was going to be learning the language of his motherland. In spirit. You get the picture.
My dad is a lover of great food and greater wine. And Scotch. But he’s not a foodie in that trendy sense of the word because he also likes shitty food like Mallomars and cheap cake with sugary frosting and American cheese sliced really thin that we used to call Daddy Cheese and Hellmann’s Mayonnaise and Manischewitz wine. He won’t admit but we bet it’s his favorite wine. Nothing else to say about this.
My dad buys things he doesn't need - which is our opinion, because he thinks he needs all of these things – which is his opinion. He bought Alexa. Because he needs her. You know, that Amazon thing that answers any question you could ever have about anything. Other things that he buys that he doesn’t need include anything from REI, new computers and new IPhones and a gazillion Swatch watches, which are actually really cool and will probably someday be collector’s items. This is why it’s so easy to defend ourselves when we buy things we don’t need. Because we grew up with such a strong roll model. So when our husbands ask us if we really need that thing that we bought, we blame it on genetics.
My dad is an empath. This is a good thing and a not so good thing, too. Good because all through my life my dad has known, just from the way I would walk in a room or how my voice sounds on the phone, that something is wrong. Not so good because he knows, just from the way I walk in a room or how my voice sounds on the phone, that something is wrong. And so if I am planning to share something with him, or even just call him to say hi, I have to be prepared to share it all or understand that I'm going to have to tell him it's private.
He's usually good about that.
Not really. Which brings me back to that invasive comment I made earlier. Because it’s not invasive. That was a joke. It’s because he cares so much. And wants to make it all better. My sisters and I, we have inherited this from him, too. Genetics again. We want to make it better for our kids – just ask them – just as he wants to make it all ok for us. Which brings me to…
My dad is a great caretaker. He doesn't think that he is because he's impatient. I get this from him. This impatientness. And so understand it. But he really is a great caretaker. Because he is loyal. And he is kind. And because he sees quickly where the need lies and respects that sometimes he can fill in the space and other times he knows that he needs to let the process unfold more slowly. Which is hard for him. In much the same way that not being part of the girl talk conversation is hard. He likes to be in it. But he knows that sometimes he can only watch from the side. He knows that this is what care taking is - knowing when to step in and knowing when to step back - not too far - until he's needed. But honestly he's really good at this. He tries. He really does. But he tries. We try, too. We suck at it also. Just ask our kids. Must be genetics.
My dad is a teller of funny and also completely inappropriate jokes. We actually compiled a book of them altogether. We named the book "Completely Inappropriate Jokes That A Father Shared With His Daughters" because over the years he has sent us way too many of them. I love this book. We tried to publish it in Amazon but they said the jokes violated copyright laws. I will never tire of his jokes. Ever. Even the bad ones.
My dad is very brave. Whether it is chasing a bear off his back porch to pulling quills out of his granddog's face or ticks out of his other granddog's ass (that is very brave) to saving his sister from a bat to taking risks and standing firm and fighting for what he knows is true to advocating for my mom and for me and my sisters, and everyone else that he loves and believes in.
My dad understands day light savings time. How many people can truly say this.
My dad is a world traveler and a world class business man. My dad is a great driver. I get this from him even though nobody else in my family would agree with me. My dad is an intellect. Not just smart but more because he takes in the information and then forms his own opinion. He is a leader. He is a great dancer. And a great tennis player. And a great father-in-law. And an amazing Grampa. And an amazing friend. And awesome brother. My dad loves cats. And dogs. And my mom. And my sisters and me. And his grandchildren.
I can keep going but writing cannot really capture him. My dad is an exceptional man.
*(My dad's current dog is a boy. His name is Lucca Brasi and he and my dad have this long and deep connection that comes from that man/dog place. It is a beautiful thing. Lucca is a special dog. He is lucky to get to spend his dog life with my amazing dad)
Mother, Wife, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Dancer, Dog and Cat lover.