Archive for the ‘fathers’ Category

Time bandits and promises

time_bandits.jpgFor a while now my parents and I stopped doing the big old gift exchange during the holidays. My father has always said, “Christmas is for kids.” It also doesn’t hurt that they bought me a washer and dryer this year. At that rate my father usually says, “You have Christmas all year anyway.”
So instead we usually do the large dinner and I decorate my own apartment — filling it to the brim with Christmas lights and garland. This year I took my Christmas tree over to their house. And I bought them both two presents. My mother seemed pleased but looked at me disapprovingly — begging to know how much I spent. To that I just said,
“You guys have done so much for me. Just let me do this for you.”
I made dad open his early. I was too eager. So on Christmas Eve I saw his eyes light up to the DVD of Time Bandits I bought him. We watched that movie so much, I grew up saying, “The little one?” If you have seen the movie you know what I’m talking about. There are these six little people and well, nevermind. Just know we quote this movie on a semi-regular.
My parents have the movie on one of those huge laser disk things. Not the sleek ones you see today. But the ones that looked like enormous 8-tracks. You had to inject the disks into this contraption and pull down a little lever. My parents still have a bunch of classics in those crazy things (The Muppet Movie, Star Wars, Richard Pryer’s Raw) but the old player doesn’t work anymore, of course. I spent years in my late teens, early 20s looking for Time Bandits on video cassette and could never find it. And then there it was, among all the other DVDs at Borders. Duh.
On to mom. One of the things I got her was a new cookbook. I bought her Nigella Lawson because I was sure she already had all the others — The Barefoot Contessa, Paula Deen, Tyler Florence …But I was wrong. She didn’t have any of them! Just Rachael Ray who I HATE! Anyway, I offered to exchange it but she wouldn’t have it. She was happy to see a different Food Network star in her hands. Which if you know my mother, you would know that she will just read the book but not use it. She likes to sit and read cookbooks. Her arthritis and feet are so bad now and combined with her extra weight, it is hard for her to stand at long periods of time. In fact this was one year that Christmas dinner was a complete chore and she elected my father and me to help. We didn’t start eating until nearly 3 p.m.! But every year she insists on cooking. And every year she complains more and more.

So I said that I was going to cook next year — at my apartment. I hate cooking in someone else’s kitchen. I told her she has a whole year to train in order to be able to go up my stairs. In return I promised a wonderful meal in a lovely Christmas setting. Dad of course will bring his famous cabbage and greens. As for the turkey, that’s going to be cooked at a local restaurant that does that kind of thing. No need in me taking on EVERYTHING quite yet. A turkey? By myself? Hell no.

Oh Saint Sacrifice, tell me about Atlas again…

 Everyone sacrifices for Photo by Steve Pinkersomething. I’ve been told time and time again by those wiser, those older, those close to me that it is part of obtaining or the result of someone’s love.  And when you do so, you can’t say one person’s sacrifice is more trying than the other. I know of only one person in my life who has sacrificed so much for me and who I care about. My father carries the weight of the world on  his shoulders, so to speak. As did the mythological Atlas. And everyday he does, he doesn’t remind you how much he has given up or what he’s been through while he holds on tight, making sure the troubling Earth doesn’t plummet into the sea.

Though he carries this world well, I wish so much that I can stand under its weight right along with him and share in the pain. My father not only raised me, put me through a decent education and tried/tries to guide me down the right path, but he has also had to do so while caring for my mother–his wife–who is mentally ill.

I know of so many who sacrifice. I too have done my share.

But my father is someone I can say without the slightest reservation that even though he carries the weight of the world, he doesn’t believe it revolves around his weary shoulders.