This week’s listicle, courtesy of the lovely Kim Pugliano of The G is Silent, is a tough one: ten happy memories about a man in our lives. I had a hard time with this because I couldn’t figure out who I wanted to concentrate on, my dad, my husband, my brother, my son…. So I decided to give it a little twist, happy memories with the most important men in my life that taught me something significant.
1. parallel parking – as many of you, the morning of my sixteenth birthday started with me at the DMV to get my much coveted driver’s license. Now, I don’t remember how exactly it worked back then (way back then) but I remember my Dad took me to do the practical exam – not because he taught me to drive, both he and my Mom were way too neurotic and every attempt ended in hysterical screaming on their part and snotty, sobbing crying on mine (and this was in no way a reflection on my driving skills). The actual, productive, driving lessons were left up to the driving instructor and a series of friends and cousins. In any case, the reason my Dad proudly accompanied me to the driving test was that he was the only one who successfully taught me to parallel park. Surprisingly enough. I was pretty nervous during the test and my only memory of it is parallel parking, crooked and a mile from the sidewalk, with the image in the rearview mirror of my dad standing a ways off with his hands over his eyes, shaking his head, and laughing. Amazingly, I passed the driving test and I can now parallel park with the best of them (blindfolded and in heels). I can also, apparently, write the longest run on sentences ever, but my dad has nothing to do with that skill.
2. not judging (too much) – despite a five-year age difference my brother and I are very much alike in some ways, in fact, we’ve often been asked if we’re twins (which generally boggles both our minds, as fraternal twins mostly look nothing alike and also, I’m the oldest, although this just means I am exceptionally well preserved for my age), but we have wildly different personalities. My brother is extremely laid back (due likely in part to a healthy, occasional, recreational drug habit, but mostly to the way mother nature split our parents’ genes) I, on the other hand, am extremely uptight, in fact if uptightness were an Olympic sport, I’d have a gold medal. The first time my brother and I went to Rio together I witnessed him befriending everyone, from the taxi cab driver, to the hotel concierge, to our peers in clubs and restaurants (he gets this from my dad) and I learned that sometimes if you just let go a little and enjoy the moment you can meet some pretty fun and interesting people in the unlikeliest of places. Also, he taught me to roll a joint. Cigarette, I meant cigarette.
3. the glass is half full (even though it’s actually half empty) – when the Husband was diagnosed with leukemia the first time I was devastated, and I’m pretty sure he was too, but some of my best memories with him are of the afternoons spent in the hospital just talking. He was in a sterile room, he could only see one person at a time, and that person had to be completely covered up, with a mask and cap and gown and everything, he’d been given a terrible prognosis, he had a toddler and a newborn at home that he couldn’t see, or touch, or anything, and, as anyone who’s had high doses of chemo knows, he felt like complete shit, and yet every afternoon I went to visit him and he was dressed and working on his computer, connected to the office, we would sit and chat for the two hours I had between breast-feedings, and he was upbeat and positive and rarely, rarely, complained. Those two hours a day were like a breath of fresh air. He redefined the meaning of staying positive in the face of adversity.
4. love (and band-aids) cures all – my son is four, and in his very short life so far he has already taught me some very important lessons. A few months ago, he and I were fighting about something or other of no importance whatsoever, and I was frustrated and being stern, he was tired and being difficult, plus it was bedtime, so world war three was in the workings. Anyway, suddenly he exploded into dramatic sobs and when I asked him what was wrong he wailed: my love, my love is gone, and I said, who’s gone, who’s your love? And he looked at me, despair in his eyes (also disbelief that I could possibly be such a moron) and said, you, you’re my love! And flew into my arms. Of course, I held him and cuddled him and loved on him for a while, and all was right again in his world, but this taught me to hug him rather than yell at him when we start going in meltdown mode and to be honest most times it works, it diffuses the situation and we don’t get to the point were his love is gone anymore. Oh, and if this doesn’t work, a fun, character, band-aid will.
5. Dinner makes the heart grow fonder – my Dad was the beating heart of our family, and for my entire life he always insisted we be home for dinner, I can count on one hand the times were I didn’t have dinner with my parents (unless they had some work related thing), Of course, I thought this was a terrible annoyance and I hated how “weird” and “eccentric” my foreign parents were compared to my all-American friends (or this was how I perceived them then, now I know better, all parents are weird and eccentric to teenagers). Now I’m thankful for that constant uninterrupted family time and I hope to replicate it in my own family. Dinnertime was the only time we were all in the house, it was a time to get to know each other, to fight, to laugh, to yell, to argue, to share, to just be a family, together, a few minutes a day.
I’m going to end it at five today, not because I don’t have ten memories but because I’m especially verbose and risk putting everyone to sleep if I keep going, that would be grossly unfair to all the other blogs you must read after mine. To that end, I suggest you go check out Stasha’s blog, where I’m linking up today with this abbreviated version on Monday Listicles.