The Egg Holiday

Nearly every morning of the year Mom would be the one waking me up, with the exception of Christmas.  It seems kids just don’t get much sleep with the anticipation of stockings and presents.  In the wee hours of the morning we had to stay in bed giddy with excitement for as long as we could stand it before going to wake up our parents.  I don’t recall who of the three siblings would have the courage to jump out of bed first, though, as soon as one set of footprints hit the floor the others would follow quickly.

We’d preview the fireplace where the stockings were hung to run downstairs to wake Mom and Dad.  Both sluggishly bundled in terry clothe robes as we’d hurry them back to the living room.  Christmas morning always started with the stockings and the aroma of cinnamon rolls baking in the oven.

Christmas morning of 1987 was no different.  The three of us gathered around the intricately carved coffee table eager to pour out the contents of our stockings.  The suspense building as we waited for them to be removed from the fireplace and set into our three, five and seven year old hands.  At last it seemed Christmas had begun when we were in possession of these lovingly hand-made felt stockings and my full attention was on the trinkets and treats inside.  I hadn’t been paying attention to my parents seated behind me until I had touched every item and spied all of what my brother and sister had gotten.

When I did notice my parents it was when my mom was holding a simple plastic Easter egg.  Looking back it makes sense because my dad never learned how to wrap a present, I suppose he reached for the first container he could find to place this gift.  My mom burst into tears when she cracked the egg open.  What kind of rotten egg is this?  I wondered as I jumped up to console her and ask what was wrong.

“Happy tears,”  she reassured, “These are happy tears.”

Although I was too young to read and I never really learned what specifically was written inside the silly Easter egg, that Christmas Dad gave Mom a vacation to England and Scotland.  The holiday egg was the moment I learned tears are not just for when we are sad, they are for when we are really happy too.

holidayegg

Christmas 1987

 

 

Reflections Fit For Father’s Day

That’s me and my dad (1982). You will see not much changes, he still wears the same mustache.

I have an older brother and a younger sister, none of us look a thing like my dad.  We are all three reflections of my mom and her side of our family.  My mother is beautiful and looks the same now as she did in pictures from twenty years ago, except better because she is without a helmet perm and enormous eye glasses.  She is incredibly kind spirited and generous to all living things.  She is bursting with creativity and is more motivated to follow-through on tasks quickly than anyone I have ever met – which easily demonstrates why she has been so successful in her own interior design business.  My siblings and I have observed these characteristics in her and have absorbed parts to benefit us each in unique ways.

For better or for worse, feel like I am the only one in my family who has acquired some personality traits from my dad.  So, in honor of my dad on Father’s Day – here goes…

*HUMOR*

I’ve always heard stories about my dad’s dad and his family of brothers, my grandpa passed away before I was born although I feel I know him from these memories shared.  My grandma told me while she was dating him she would eat at his family’s house for dinner and her stomach would ache the next day from laughter.  She talked about how each brother would seem funnier then the next and how his mom would top them all with her punch lines.  I can almost imagine the scene, the sarcasm and the ridiculousness.

The Mady Brothers. My grandpa is the handsome one, third from the left.

At our family dinner table I know when my dad is about to tell a joke before he even opens his mouth.  So I find it exceptionally entertaining when I can make him laugh or encourage him to be gullible in an outlandish tale.  Part of what makes my humor is how people don’t suspect it from the sweet look I got from my mom.  I can make a silly request or develop a whole unbelievably, outrageous story leaving the other person looking dumbfounded before they question my innocence.

About to ride The Tower of Terror 1995. Looking so cool – Dad in his member’s only jacket and me in tapered jeans.

*ADVENTURE*

My mom, brother and sister are perfectly content  staying with their feet firmly planted on the ground, and without risk or fear.  My dad and I are not.  My dad and I rode roller coasters on family vacations while the rest faked illness for a seat on the park bench.  We took scuba diving lessons while the others were beach bound.  He escorted me and my friend’s to haunted houses before we were old enough to drive ourselves. And while my family came to support and watch me skydive, I think my dad was slightly jealous to not be strapped to a parachute too.

Without my dad being at my side through the early adventures, I may not have gone on to pursue my own later – canyoning, paragliding, river rafting etc.  Don’t get me wrong, some of these risks have been terrifying to me.  It’s overcoming the fear for the adventure which makes it exhilarating and worth it every time.

*QUESTIONING*

My dad always wanted us to think for ourselves.  Sounds like a great thing for a parent to want to teach their children, except if you are the child and you just want to know how long before we stop.  And what you get in response is “Well, we are driving at a rate of 68 miles per hour and have another 150 miles to go.”

As a double major in biology and chemistry it was important for him that we didn’t just get answers, rather  we would know how to solve the problems.   This would lead to thinking outside the box and questioning what was already known.  Around middle school or high school age I began to understand from my dad there is a lot more happening in the world then I would get from public education.  I gained confidence to speak my mind, ask direct questions and point out what didn’t make sense to me in school, at the workplace and in general.  It’s not always cool to be the one who is trying question the flow of the popular opinion.  Being cool isn’t important to me though, I would rather not conform back into a box.

I am an extremely lucky individual to have the parents I have, who have supported me so much in life, and who have blessed me with the inherited and learned characteristics which make me who I am.  I love them both, and today – Happy Father’s Day Dad – I appreciate you in so many ways.