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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Mirror and Hourglass - Part II

If you missed part 1, you can find it here.

Daddy’s little girl
Learned to make sunshine out of rain
She was taught to live each day
As though she’d never live again
He showed her the light in darkness
And that it was never wrong to love
That everyone deserves a chance
And that there’s more than sky above
I walked in his footsteps
So much bigger than mine
I walked in his shadow
So much larger than life
Daddy’s little girl
Living through his eyes
Daddy’s little girl
Learned to see what lies beneath
She was taught to believe
In those who had nothing to believe
He showed her angels fallen
And wiped the tears from her eyes
Said they’re not letting go of Heaven, baby
They’re only learning how to fly
I walk in his footsteps
So much larger than mine
I walk in his shadow
So much larger than life
Daddy’s little girl
Had to say goodbye
Ah, but Daddy’s little girl
Has her Daddy’s eyes.
My earliest memory is of him, with my mother’s pantyhose on his head, dancing around, trying to make me laugh.  I swore for years that he was pretending to be a bunny.
“No,” he’d correct me, quite seriously – every time, “I was a jester.”  Because when a grown man puts a woman’s pantyhose on his head, he’d better either be robbing a bank or pretending to be a jester to make his child giggle.  Anything else would just be silly.
I made a point of retelling the story as him pretending to be a bunny, just so he’d correct me.
My mom insisted that I fell in love with him first, as a two year old at my Aunt Angel’s house.  I’m inclined to believe her, and since the majority of my early childhood was spent tagging along with him while he did odd jobs or dumpster-dove, we were close.
It’s a funny thing when you’re close with someone though, you know that you can be ornery and sometimes downright mean, and they’ll still love you and you know they’ll always forgive you.  This was something my Dad apparently banked on.
When I was four, Dad bet me that he could eat a donut hole.
“No you can’t,” I argued, “It’s a hole, you can’t eat a hole.”
“Yes I can.”
“There’s nothing there.  You can’t eat something that isn’t there.”
This went on for a while.  Finally he convinced me to bet him, with the very last donut in the box (which was mine, by the way), that he could, in fact, eat a donut hole.
To my pint-sized horror, he shoved that entire donut in his mouth, and it was gone before I knew what had happened.  I stared at him, wide-eyed and gape-mouthed for a full 5 seconds before bursting into tears.  My.  Donut. 
And he ate it. 
Just…ate it.
Looking back, I feel kind of bad that I cried so hard and so pitifully that he immediately took me to the store and bought me my own box of donuts.  Kind of.  He ate my donut, after all.
Although, he reminded me many times of how, when I was very small and it was wet and cold outside, he’d carried me on his shoulders so I wouldn’t get my feet wet.  I’d repaid him with my weak bladder, peeing all down his neck and back and he’d spent that day wet with urine in the cold and probably smelling to high heaven to boot.  He’d continued to carry me on his shoulders anyway, and didn’t scold or shame me, or tell people it was my fault when they wrinkled their noses up at the smell.  He only brought it up when I mentioned the infamous donut.
You win, Dad.
That same year, he built me a playhouse in our backyard, out of big pieces of particle board.  I had the healthy imagination of a 4 year old, so I spent my time in that playhouse conducting interviews with celebrities (Mozart was my favorite, but he was so conceited that I actually told him to shut his doody-face one time because he wouldn’t shut up about how brilliant he was), playing house, conducting top-secret experiments, and shooting music videos, among many, many other things.
Then came the day that I was an archaeologist and dug holes all through the dirt floor of my ancient ruins with a stick.  I hit pay-dirt on the fifth hole:  an obviously prehistoric bone that had been unearthed by me and would bring me millions.  Covered in dirt, I ran excitedly into the house with this glorious find to show Dad.  He’d be so proud of me, and I’d be so rich he’d have to ask me for donut money.
“Daddy, daddy -” he cocked an eyebrow at me over his book as I paused to catch my breath, “a dinosaur bone!”
“A dino-what?”
“I found a dinosaur bone!”
“You did?”  Cue that false enthusiasm that parents get when their kids are excited and they don’t want to kill their enthusiasm.  “Let me see.”
I presented it to him proudly.
“That’s great, kiddo, but uh ... it’s a pork chop bone.”
I was quite deeply offended.  I was most certainly not a pork chop bone.  I told him so. 
We argued for several minutes, until he got up from his chair, went into the kitchen, and presented me with a package of pork chops out of the freezer.  I looked at it suspiciously.  Compared my dinosaur bone with one of the bones I could clearly see in the package.  My bone was not a pork chop bone, I just knew it.  It was –
a pork chop bone.
As parents do, he seemed to recognize the exact second that I realized he was right.  He was smirking, an expression that sent my toddler mind into a fury.
Don’t look so smug.  You ate my donut.
Rather than admit that he was right and I would not be rich and famous for finding some long lost remnant from the Jurassic era, I did the only thing my four year old mind could think of to do.
I burst into tears.
Dad hugged me and calmed me down, and gave me a cookie. 

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