Thursday, June 18, 2015

About Dad (And Mom) On Father's Day

Photo by Sara Speert
If you watch Games of Thrones, you may be upset with Stannis Baratheon for burning alive his young daughter, Shireen, at the urging of Melisandre, the red priestess, in order to overcome adversity, claim a kingdom and fulfill what he saw as his destiny.

Shireen was a fan favorite, and it was evil to see him betray the innocent, but precocious daughter he clearly loved. Costing him everything, it is a testament to the complexity of the show that we feel a tinge of sympathy for the man later.

Fortunately, my father was not a Stannis, but a Jon Snow with a good heart. Rather then approve, then watch the horror, my father would have run into the flames to save me. Every child deserves that kind of father. One who watches your back, not your death out of a misguided hope for favor.

On the other hand, I can't picture my mother running into a fire. Too hot! Too risky!! Too crazy!!! (Really, I can't see her singeing her hair.) But. In the end, I would have lived, with her taking charge also. She has a finger on reality, so after the first spark, she would have made a big fuss: ordering all of the king's men to jump in to save me! And guess what? They would have obeyed.

Moreover, my parents wouldn't substitute a Pope's judgment for their own, much less that of a religious fanatic who burns people for the Lord of Light; so as a child, I had nothing to worry about. There was no banning of shorts or TV or independent thinking in our house. Many of us are lucky to have the parents who raised us. 

For Father's Day, I'll share a story that involves both of my parents. I was 27 years old, already living in Manhattan, but on vacation for a week visiting family.

I went down to City Hall to replace a social security card, taking my birth certificate as proof. It was years before 9/11 made such things more complicated. But on this day, surely, I must have appeared before the most bureaucratic, nit picky, procedure following clerk in the Western Hemisphere. She would not accept my birth certificate as proof that I was using my own name, was born on the date listed; and indeed, was a citizen of the USA. She asked for 2 additional pieces of I.D.
So returning home, I sat in the living room, relating the events to my father, telling him I would go back down to City Hall on another day with more forms of identify to get my social security card.

Surprise number 1: Dad got so angry that he began to plan OUR return trip back down to City Hall, so WE could prove that I had been born ... and was who I said I was ... and entitled to my social security card. 

Surprise number 2: Just then my mother passed through the room on her way to the kitchen ... overheard the details and suddenly she was hopping mad too. She piped in that SHE would accompany me back down to City Hall ALSO!

Then I heard my father say, "You'll have your mother AND your father. We'll BOTH go with you to confirm to the clerk that you were born!"

Well, this was snowballing! But how could I not be touched? At 27 years old, I was still somebody's baby. And, they were going to make sure I got what was rightfully mine. 

An hour later, mom and dad had calmed down. Thank goodness for the poor unsuspecting, yet very thorough clerk.


Before I left town, I returned to City Hall ... with a friend, not my parents; and on my second trip, picked up my social security card quickly and efficiently, not needing the extra I.D. on that day. All's well that ends well. 


Happy Father's Day all you dear fathers!


You may also enjoy:

A Father's Day Memory
Happy Father's Day ... Hmm
Thinking About Father's Day
Happy Father's Day: A Good Man Is Not Hard To Find

2 comments:

  1. True story (sort of equivalent to fabulous story re your Dad): My daughter blew through more than $1K on a designer bag, from a very famous store. I guess they were doing close-outs. The online order had clearly stated that sale was final, no refunds, no credits, no nothing. When the bag came, it had clearly been mis-represented- the wrong straps or something only she would have noticed. So "The DAD" put on his tough guy tones including business-style legalese sleaze, and managed to get her a full refund. The things that daughters put us poor dads through!!!

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    1. $1K for a bag, yikes, Barry! I am surprised that a well-known store would have a no return policy, especially for that price point. I'd be scared to shop there.

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