19 June 2011

[it's personal] - in honor of you dad | newburyport, ma

Embrace me you child
You're a child of mine
{c. simon}

Watching Annie perform in her acting class today I drifted off into my past. Her exercise as directed by her teacher Andy, was to become a statue in a museum that he was the night watchman in. The statues were allowed to move about and change but only when his back was turned. I watched her become a ballerina (natch,) a bear, a scary witch, a dinosaur all while flitting about to the delight of her fellow actors and teacher. And then the flashback hit me.  1970something, the anticipation of hearing my Dad’s car pull into the driveway was always exciting to me. Dad was and still is an incredibly hard worker – he would leave early in the morning and arrive home sometimes at 7 – exhausted, hungry and needing some time to be alone or a well deserved  cocktail. But being the father of five children the alone time was very hard to come by. I knew I had a short window of getting my father’s attention before he really needed to decompress. At the time I was dancing ballet and for whatever reason dragged along my Mom and my sister, we would become statues. We would freeze in position in our family room waiting for Dad to open the door. No matter how tired he was, or how bad of a day he had, he never ever showed it, he would smile and say “Oooooooh Statuuuuuuuuueee!!!! I would try not to giggle as he sashayed over to us, observing our positions. Out loud he would choose one of us and say, “Hmmm, I wonder what this one does?” And then he would press an imaginary button on our backs and we would come alive.  I was always the ballerina statue and I would pirouette and leap around the room.  It was always a thrill to me  and I loved watching his reaction.
Annie gets excited when she hears her Dad pull his car in the driveway. I think it’s something all children feel when their Dads get home from work. Sometimes Annie will hide and Bil, being one who definitely likes to play along, will take the time to go in search of her, ignoring the little toes sticking out from under the drapes. When at long last the discovery is made, the squeals of delight can be heard throughout the house.
To all of us, our Dads are our hero’s. The bar is always set high for the approval rating. My Dad never complained when he was dragged to my ballet recitals, or piano recitals, or school plays. He taught me how to ride my bike, how to take a singers breath, he became the “giant clam” when we went swimming in the ocean at the jersey shore.  He planted and culled the perfect vegetable garden, he grilled the best eye round. He took me to Paris. He hummed the Wedding March as he walked me towards my husband. He entertained us with his piano playing, his joke telling, his barbershop singing. He was the first person I called after Annie was born.  He drilled math into my head – {I admit it remains my worse subject}. He always told me I was beautiful and talented and clever and continues to  encourage my path in life. With open arms he accepts me with all my faults and shortcomings.
Not a day goes by that he isn’t in my thoughts.  And while I miss his face, I know I am in his thoughts too. He is no longer a car ride away, instead he is an airplane ride away – but still, I know he is there. Whenever I need a little encouragement, or advice or even a laugh he is on the other end of the phone and with a press of a button on my laptop via email. I will always seek his approval, whether that’s good or bad, it’s the truth. My Dad was the first man I ever loved. He gave me an incredible childhood with an incredible family in an incredible home and I will always be grateful for that.
I am still that little girl standing there in the family room, frozen, waiting for my Dad to discover me with a touch of a button.  Seeking  his approval, love and support.

Happy Father’s Day Dad – I hope I tell you enough how much I truly love you. You mean everything. everything. xo

{prepping me and my sisters to sing a little barbershop at my wedding}

{the manion quartet - yes i was 5 mos preggers!}

{surrounded by love - 7 of his 11 grandchildren - avalon, nj}

1 comment:

Jen said...

That is so sweet, Meg! Brought a little tear to my eye. :) xo