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Two nights ago I had a dream that my father died.
I’ve actually been having a lot of dreams where my family dies or is in mortal peril recently. It’s probably some sort of reaction to the stress of school mixed with the guilt of not being able to see any of them due to time issues. I’ve been trying to figure out a time to go see my grandparents and I honestly can’t find a time in the near future where school lets up for long enough that I could visit without destroying my GPA and subsequent college career.
Anyway, because I had this dream I’ve been thinking about my dad a lot.
(I don’t have any pictures of my dad currently on my computer because of the great unplugging of the external hard-drive tragedy of 2008, so the only pictures I have to go with this post are some old army ones I took digital pictures of, out of the albums he has in Florida.)
I remember one night when I was little, (maybe 6 or 7) and my dad was home at night for the first time in ages and he had come in to my room to read me a story, and fallen asleep on my bed. I remember being so cold because the fan was blowing on me and it was almost September, but my blanket was under my dad (this giant, gray, hero of mine) and the last thing in the entire world that I wanted to do right then was to move him. I wouldn’t even touch him because he might wake up and leave. I remember sitting there for what felt like hours, terrified to move and absolutely chilled to the bone. Then I found it. The top sheet was only wedged halfway under my dad, so I scrunched down near him, and put the sheet over myself. The warmth, just the thin cotton was enough of a reprieve from the cool wind that I felt like I had just crawled inside a giant fluffy sleeping bag. I think that was the warmest I’ve ever been. That night in august, near my dad (but not touching him, for fear of waking) huddled under a sheet, I was contented with my situation.
For as long as I can remember my dad has known everything.
He showed me how to braid challah when I was so young that I didn’t understand why we ate it on Fridays. When I was in junior high and struggling through biology, he explained to me how genetics work in simple terms and drew me a Punnett square on the back of a napkin while we ate dinner. One afternoon while we were walking around his neighborhood with the dog, he tried to explain to my 12-year-old self how light refraction works. He is a doctor; I was always amazed that he knew how to fix people. I still am amazed. I never knew how he did it, how he knew so much, and I was jealous and sometimes annoyed. I couldn’t get facts to stick in my brain like he did. Nonetheless, it was exceptionally comforting to know that there was this adult in my life who could answer any question I had (and sometimes lecture on those questions which were never asked.) But now as I get older I am starting to become more like him, more aware of how my brain works, and I can finally begin to understand more of how his may work as well. I am not an encyclopedia, but a collector. I collect information I find interesting. I think this is also how my dad works. This mental compulsion is what creates in me the desire to learn. I find myself spending hours researching everything I possibly can about something just because it sparks my interest. I wouldn’t change it for the world, because of this I care about things; I am able to immerse myself deeply in something and truly learn. I got this from my dad, my dad who knows everything. I think he is a collector, too.
So thank you, dad. Thank you for my desire to learn, for teaching me, and for always being there with an answer when I needed one.