My Dad


I met my dad when I was 6.  He was a loud, cantankerous fellow and I was mostly scared of him.  He liked rules, and my older sister and I were pretty used to running our house the way we liked to.  He came in and kind of cleaned house, as far as the BS was concerned.  It was easy to break me, I was 6.  My sister, on the other hand, was on the verge of adulthood at the ripe age of nearly 12.  My mother had been a full-time working single mother for years, and as far as my sister was concerned, we were doing just fine, thank you very much!  It took some getting used to, but eventually, we all melded together into a family.  Not long after that, my dad’s two children from his previous marriage (who had spent a couple of summers with us) moved in for good.  They came from the Seattle, Washington area.  They were different.  They said “Dad” instead of “Daddy” and we still pretty much said, “Ray” or “Mr. Ray,” I can’t remember which.   That took some getting used to as well, but eventually we did. 

Growing up was an adventure in my house.  While I was most afraid of my dad, I know now looking back that he saved my ass (literally) from many beatings.  My mother always wanted to beat the bad out of me, and my dad wanted to talk it out.  When we moved from our little town in south Louisiana north to central Louisiana, it was a big adjustment for me.  He adopted me that year, when I was 14.  He later adopted my older sister when she was an adult, for the sake of completeness.  She was already his daughter, they just made it official.

My dad is very stubborn and set in his ways.  He’s predictable.  He’s strong willed.  He’s painfully precise.  If you ask him his opinion on any given subject, he will give you his first impression opinion but then will spend hours researching all aspects of it, and then give you his newly informed opinion.  He tackles problems from a very scientific viewpoint.  He draws maps and grids and flowcharts to illustrate things to you.  He takes good care of my mother, and he treated my grandparents like they were his own parents.  He’s a good man.

He’s not perfect.  But neither is anyone reading or writing this post.   His two biological children have now abandoned their relationship with him for all intents and purposes.  They don’t call or write or come by (though one of them lives less than 5 miles away from him.)  They are both parents themselves.  I can’t imagine that they think that they have the right to hold their dad up to some kind of standard that surely they themselves have not managed to meet.  Family is supposed to support each other, lean on each other, and forgive each other for each member’s shortcomings.  Now that I have 4 children, it hurts me to know that they just gave up on a relationship that was theirs for the taking.  They are depriving their children of a relationship with their grandfather.  It does make me angry.  He doesn’t express anger when he does talk about it,  but you can see in his eyes that he’s sad about it.

I never knew my biological father.  I sometimes wish that I knew something, anything, about my biological father and his family…knew where I came from, the stories and the characters in the storybook of my life.  But I have never missed out on having a father.  I know that I have a dad, and have for nearly as long as I can remember.  And I appreciate that he’s been there for me, through the thick and the thin.  He would do anything for his kids, and his grand kids.  I know that, I have seen that.  And I appreciate it.  

Happy Birthday Dad, from your daughter.

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About zohrbak

Zohrbak is an old email username I had a while back...it's a made-up twist on two characters from Spaceghost. Zorak and Brak. I'm a geek. I am a married, working mother of 4 children, ages 4-15. I also have interests outside of my children, but I can never remember what they are.
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17 Responses to My Dad

  1. YaYa says:

    Happy Birthday Ray! When I met Ray, I thought, know this is a guy my dad will like. He reminds me so much of my own father. He too is all about research, graphs, talking things out, spreadsheets, flowcharts. My dad was adopted, maybe him and Ray are related somehow. They are both short men.. Anyway, I always look forward to a good conversation about gardening, canning or cooking, he is full of good information.

  2. Ryan says:

    I remember a couple things about Mr. Ray, he had a pistol, I thought that was cool and I wanted to shoot it. And he did that pirate skit, remember “I want to sing and dance”. That shit was hilarious. Tell him I said Happy Birthday!

  3. Ryan says:

    Dam, I thought for sure you would remember that, or maybe I’ve mixed it up with something else? Mrs. Pat, help me out here, surely you would remember this.

  4. Pat says:

    Yep. Z, I thought surely no one that lived in our house would forget the fiasco that surrounded this performance. We had a skit in a church party talent show. Your dad, Betty Artigue and I did “Pirates of Penzance” by Ray Stevens. Don’t you remember the aluminum foil buckles on your dad’s shoes and the black stocking peg leg? Ryan, Jerry, Lou Bennett and somebody else did the Temptations I think…

  5. zohrbak says:

    I’m starting to think that Ryan remembers more about my childhood than I do.

    I told you guys. My brain is mush. The kids are killing me.

  6. Pat says:

    Yeah, you are forgetting some good times. (Probably remembering some that would be better forgotten too!) I can’t believe Ryan remembered Ponchartrain Beach and you forgot it. Your kids are not killing you. I survived

  7. Sheri says:

    Can we just pretend that you ended this with “daughters” plural? Cuz I really want in on this one lol. I love you, I love Mama, and I love Ray (I was way too “adult” to start the DAD word, but he is the best DAD in my heart.) From the start, before I even deserved such things from him, I’ve ALWAYS been able to count on him for anything. I’m so glad he hung in there for me and I’m sorry for other family members who aren’t in a place in their life where they can understand how important family is and how very freeing it can be to give up old hurts and grievances. I love our family. Happy Birthday with lots and lots of love to my father and my children’s grandfather. The gift is ours.

  8. Pat says:

    I would like to go on record right here, right now as stating that I do not know what I have ever done in my life that was so great for God to have blessed me with these two daughters. No one in this world has been better blessed with children that me. Thank you both from the bottom of my heart. I think I did a really good job of choosing a dad for you!
    Mom
    PS Z, I never thought about it before, but you nailed it when you said he literally saved you from many, many beatings! I guess perhaps the philosophy within my heart was wrong (at least your dad always thought so) I thought you could beat the bad out of somebody. Apparently it goes away on its on, or with God’s help. Don’t give up on Little B. After all, Big E is already better! LOL

    • zohrbak says:

      Awwww. Thanks, mom. I’m SOOOO feelin’ the love. lol

    • zohrbak says:

      And, also, I don’t know what you did to deserve us either. ROFLMAO. I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist. I love you. Don’t hit me.

      • Pat says:

        I suppose you can again thank your dad that I won’t…Truth is, I was not a very good person back then, which should PROVE to all that God does, indeed, exist. I still am not perfect, but I have since learned to thank Him constantly for His love for me. Okay, now I’m done! LOL

  9. Sheri says:

    Y’all do realize that all this is getting entirely too sappy for public view right? lol Oh, and btw, I don’t remember jack about this pirate business.

  10. Pingback: My Mom « Zohrbak's Blog

  11. Miz Tiz says:

    beautiful. My heart is too full to add anything more.

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