Dad Almighty


When I was very young, my dad bought me a red dress with black polka dots and a pair of shiny red shoes. I adored that dress. I’ve often said that it might have been what made me fall in love with black and red, still my favorite colors today.

I wore the dress every day. I took it off in between, washed it in the river, waited for it to dry while in my underwear, and put it back on. Then there was a death in town, and if you’ve ever lived in a small village, you already know that everybody goes to every funeral. If you know anything about Caribbean Catholicism, you also understand that the colors of mourning for young children are black and white, and grey. My mom spent a few days trying to get me to change into something more conventional for the occasion. I said no. She yelled that I must. I screamed that I wouldn’t. She got a hold of my dad, and told him that I needed to wear black and white.

My dad and I spoke. He said that it would be best if I changed dresses. I told him that I didn’t want to. I was sad because a friend had died, and I was sure that red would make him happy. My dad explained that people would talk. They might even be mean to me. I said that I didn’t care. I wanted to wear my black and red dress. My dad told me that if I thought it was the right thing to do, and I was willing to deal with the consequences, then I should wear my red and black dress. I loved my dad more than ever.

Three days ago, my dad and I discussed my leaving the Midwest. “I’m on my way home to New York,” I told him. “Things didn’t work out, but Im in peace.”

“I didn’t think they were going to,” he said. “Not after I talked to you in December. You sounded sad. And Jacob’s name didn’t sound happy in your voice.”

“Why didn’t you tell me,” I wanted to know.

“Because I know mi Tesoro (my Treasure),” he chuckled, “No one can tell you what to do. You might do the opposite just to show them.”

I laughed my agreement. “I would, wouldn’t I?”

“Yes,” my dad said. “Are you going to tell everyone [meaning our extended family]? They might not be gentle. They will talk.”

“I don’t hide from anyone,” I said, perhaps a bit too harshly. “Those who matter already know. And if they think less of me for leaving a life that didn’t make me happy, then I don’t need them.”

My dad roared with laughter. “That’s my little girl!” he shouted. “I’m right behind you in anything you choose to do. I love all of you. I’m proud of your decisions, of how much you value your independence. I love you because you are exactly who you want to be. I hope you know that.”

“I do, Papi. And I love you, too.” As we ended the conversation, I thought, yep, that’s my dad almighty, and I loved him even more.

Some of you might think, Well, that is what parents are supposed to do, isnt it? A few of you, who havent delighted in the joys of ever-loving parents, might think, You’re lucky. But if you come from a culture that doesnt think much of parents who are openly loving with their children, and who expect a father to force his will on his daughter, then you understand that I am a blessed witchy woman, and the most fortunate of all daughters ;-)
Reach for the Stars” by Jen Norton

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58 comments:

  1. Such a sweet man! May the years stretch into decades before his altar takes place on your hearth.

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    1. The sweetest. You know, every time he looked at my school grades, was presented with an award, got a scholarship... my dad would grin from ear to ear, and say, "I've always said you got my brains!" And I tell him, and your heart, too; I hope ;-)

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  2. Life was very different in your country of birth Magaly. You've been a traveller your whole life and from the sounds of what just happened you aren't about to settle down just yet. Would love to meet your Dad, he sounds okay in my books!

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    1. My life suitcase has a lot of stamps, doesn't it? I like the look of it. And I'm pretty sure that my pride comes from the knowledge that my dad has taught me that a good life is best when well-traveled ;-)

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  3. Your dad sounds like a remarkable man and very emotionally mature! This is unfortunately very uncommon and you are indeed blessed!
    lots of love!

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    1. "remarkable" is one of the words I've used to describe my old man. And I think that he would glare at me if I tell him that he is "very emotionally mature," and tell me, "I'm a child at heart." Then he would grin ;-)

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  4. To have a Dad Almighty must be wonderfully soothing. I would love to meet your father and tell him that I admire him for his open soul policy. I would also like to thank him for encouraging you to be "real".
    I can just picture you in your favorite red and black dress.....the picture of happiness. Which by the way is a picture in which you should always dwell. smooches and squoozes, Oma Linda

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    1. Reading this makes me think that I should probably go shopping for a new red and black dress. The old one fell apart some years back lol

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  5. Your father has the great wisdom of not trying to exert control. Very zen of him.

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    1. Zen and brilliant. I always end up exactly what he wants me to, just because he never tries to make me do it. Hm... I wonder if this has been his plan all along ;-)

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  6. You are indeed very lucky, and I love his nickname for you. :)

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    1. The only guy who gets to call me all kinds of nicknames. We are both lucky ;-)

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  7. After reading this I gotta ask: Was the funeral as terrible as your mother feared it would be?

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    1. My red and black dress was an armor. I'm glad I wore it. Another thing, people have always talked about me: She's too talkative. She's too unorthodox. She's too bright. She's too weird... and so on. I guess if they are going to continue to run their mouths, I will look good while they do it. The funeral was sad--the boy who died was very young--but attending it on my terms made it not so terrible.

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  8. You are indeed a blessed witchy woman to have a relationship like that with your father. Your father sounds amazing. I dream of a relationship like that with my own, but alas it is not so. But I take comfort in knowing that my own son will have that kind of relationship with both of his parents. Hugs!

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    1. I'm glad you get to experience the miracle through your child and husband. It is a wonderful thing to see and feel, so bad that it is not as common... And you are completely right about this not being something we experience with both parents; my dad is perfect, my mom is... well, herself lol

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  9. Never had that kind of relationship with my father.
    But my husband is an amazing father who is just like yours with our children.
    It is a wonderful blessing.

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    1. Isn't it a wonderful thing to behold? The man you love most being great to the persons you both love most? Miracles, blessings... all around ;-)

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  10. I am so very happy that you were blessed with that kind of relationship with your father. Some of us only get that kind of relationship with one parent, or not at all. My mother was always my biggest supporter while growing up. I love the dress story too - I had a red and white polka dot dress when I was little. I wore it until it fell off me.

    Hugs to you and cheers to your dad for being such a supportive man!

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    1. I just burst into laughter because, I, too, wore my dress "until if fell off me." I guess we had the best looking security blankies EVER ;-)

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  11. I like your Dad :D XXX

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    1. I like, admire, and ADORE the man ;-)

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  12. Those of us with supportive Dads don't always know how lucky we are. Glad your's understands you so well. Have a safe trip home.

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    1. That is true. I should spend day and night telling him how special he is. I don't do it all the time. I don't take him for granted, but I could do better.

      Thanks for the good wishes, I arrived whole ;-)

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  13. What a huge blessing your father is. Wise!!!
    Be safe dear friend...be well!
    My daddy brought me home a fashion doll from NYC when I was 6!! Dolls have been my favorite since them.
    Hugging you
    SueAnn

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    1. I wonder if all dads know how a tiny gesture from them affect the rest of our lives. My dad always laughed good-heartily (and celebrated) when I told made up stories. I wonder, wonder, wonder... ;-)

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  14. I'm glad you've got a dad who supports you.

    It's interesting how sometimes parents can't tell us things, how they need to let us figure things out for ourselves. My mom knew I was Pagan long before I figured it out for myself, but of course she couldn't tell me. There have been a couple other things like that.

    By the way, I think you're pretty brave for sharing this part of your life even though you weren't sure what was going to happen.

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    1. When I made this decision, some of my good friends suggested to keep the experience to myself until everything worked out (or didn't). I told them that if I was going to share my life I wasn't going to hide the uncomfortable bits. Reality isn't easy or predictable...

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  15. Ok, just been catching up on the last few posts. I'm a little confused but that's nothing new. As long as your happy and at peace Magaly you'll survive and find a way to thrive. Your dad sounds nice.
    Wanted to thank you for another post so will just email you.
    J x

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    1. A lot has happened these last five months. Don't feel bad about being a bit confused. It will make sense as we dance the circle ;-)

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  16. Your father is a blessing and a treasure ;o) You are fortunate to have him ;o)

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    1. I am the luckiest wickedest Witch of them all ;-)

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  17. That just bought a smile to my face and a tear to my eye. Not only are you a blessed, lucky daughter but your father is a true treasure on this earth.

    It's funny how similar we are; my dad never told me things wouldn't work out with lovers and friends even when he knew as well because I would have done my own thing anyway. ;-)

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    1. I forgot to mention, I don't have a little black and red dress and favorite colors from him but my dad gave me some of my favorite movies - Star Wars, The Wizard of Oz and Legend. It's amazing the things that stick with us.

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    2. Danni luv, it seems our treasures have shared their treasures with us. We are very lucky Witches ;-)

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  18. You made me cry. Tears of joy for you, and tears of joy for me. I'm thankful for the father you have and the father I had. My Dad once met one of my boyfriends at the door after I'd discovered he was married and the dumbass had the chutzpah to come to my house. After a VERY brief discussion Daddy left and came back with LOTS of wine. We watched bad Mexican horror films (El Vampiro Boracho), drank wine, and bashed men...Thank the gods for Daddies who Get Us.

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    1. I just closed my eyes and imagined your dad "bashing" men. You know, my dad and I used to do something similar (without the wine lol). When I was feeling down, we would watch El Chavo del Ocho and old Mexican Westerns. I'm laughing just thinking about it ;-)

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  19. Your Dad sounds amazing! You are so blessed!

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  20. Awww you have an awesome dad! Meanwhile you're coming back to NY?! Yay! We will meet up even if I wind up dragging the kids on the train to come down to you.

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    1. I'm here already. I can't wait for the spring. I might come to see you, that way the kids can avoid the "dragging" bit ;-)

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  21. It's like I read about my own parents, Magaly!
    They never forced anything on me, always respected my choices.Everything was only my own decision, they just helped me to achieve it and be happy. This is the blessing that not everyone has.
    Living here (in India) made me realize how much lucky I am to have such parents. They are my support till date, they are my strength, which I know will hold me up further in life.
    Blessing to you and your Dad!

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    1. It is easy to grow strong when we have a good foundation. You are lucky than most getting that from both parents. And you are right, seeing what others have to deal with tells me just lucky we are ;-)

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  22. Beautifully told story about a father well loved who gave his daughter courage & independence, teaching it's ok not to always follow the rules, 'cause sometimes those rules don't mean nothing when questioned by an intelligent intuitive child :)

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    1. Sometimes I shake my head at how so many parents believe in teaching the rules and not thinking in order to understand them instead. Learning to follow without knowing is dangerous and lame, especially when viewed by "and intelligent intuitive child." ;-)

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  23. It's great that your father understands and supports you. It is right, this is what parents are supposed to do, but we all know sometimes they can't help themselves. (It must be tough to be in the gap between what society deems acceptable and what your children want to be.)

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    1. I think many parents are so terrified their children would make some of the mistakes they made when they were young that they forget that in order to get to that place they needed those experiences. Maybe more will remember...

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    2. My father used to tell me, "Learn from other people's mistakes. You won't live long enough to make them all yourself." He also says, "No matter what I tell you, you won't listen anyway, right?" And the best thing he once said, referring to my stubbornness, "You are just like my mother!"

      (I wouldn't tolerate that sentence from anyone else, but my grandmother was a great woman.)

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  24. You are really lucky to have such a great dad. Mine would have berated me for hours and shamed me to get me to conform. It only made me more stubborn.

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    1. You just made me laugh, Ellen. My mom has always been one of those parents who pushed and kicked instead of holding and explaining. Now you know where my stubbornness comes from ;-)

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  25. I love your dad with all my heart. A man of his own soul, a man who knows the value of his "little treasure." Warmest hugs sweetie. Mina

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    1. My dad is an amazing man. He has been my hero ever since I can remember. He has been the only person I've always wanted to impress, and it is so wonderful that I have never had to do anything other than be myself in order to be remarkable in his eyes ;-)

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  26. what an amazing dad! I admit I envy you a little but I am also happy with my dad knowing that he trusts me and loves me even if he doesnt show me in the way your dad does :)

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    1. He is the best. My big brother is like your dad, all heart and support but not very imaginative in the showing it business. I don't love him any less for it ;-)

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  27. wow I love your dad! your relationship with him and how he sounds reminds me so much of mine....and I totally get the cultural implications, mine was the same he took alot of heat for his support of me at times....amazing how we can come from different backgrounds and cultures and yet face some of the same attitudes.....loved reading this!

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    1. May the universe bless amazing dads ;-)

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  28. You are so very blessed. As a daughter whose father has been... a difficult conundrum... I say this with certainty and a touch of envy. Your dad sounds awesome.

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    1. He is the best. And right now, I can't stop thanking the universe for him.

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