Saturday, May 01, 2010

A father's approval means more than he knows

My Dad is definitely not one to gush or sugar-coat things. He has high standards. So when he gives praise, you know that it's earned. As kids, my siblings and I worked hard to gain his approval.

I know my Dad is very proud of me, but he's much happier about my professional achievements than my authoring a rather questionable book called the The Laptop Dancer Diaries. He stays away from my blog and when I asked him if he was going to read the book he said, "There are just some things a Dad doesn't need to know about his little girl." I'm cool with that. It's probably true that parts of the book would make him uncomfortable. But, of course, I'll never get over that feeling of wanting to make my Dad proud of me. Since he avoids my book and blog, there's been a little part of me that's wondered if he was ashamed or embarrassed by my openness. And I know he has mixed feelings about me being "out there" on social media, worried about privacy issues.

So even though I'd rewritten the lyrics of Hallelujah and created this slideshow that I'd put on YouTube, I hadn't given Dad the link, or even told him that I'd put it up there. I was really surprised that he found it and commented on YouTube:

"Wow! Phenomenal. I had no idea you  were such a great lyricist as well as your other talents. Super job.

Dad sent me an email a couple days later telling me he'd had one of his good friends listen to the lyrics and told me they made him cry. Getting such high praise from my father really meant a lot to me. More than he probably realizes. I think it was especially wonderful that he put the comment on YouTube for all to see. I think it's the only time my Dad has ever put a public comment on a social media site, or at least on anything I've ever written. I hadn't even been aware that he even knew I had a YouTube account.

I know the slideshow needs work (including getting rid of that little hourglass where the mouse was when I recorded it!) Maybe some day I'll delete this version from YouTube and create a better version. But I think if I delete it, it will delete Dad's comment, and that's the part I treasure most.

There's a toast my Dad makes that he learned from his father. He made the toast at my brother's memorial party. Raising his glass first high, then low, then eye-level he said:

Never above you
Never below you
Always beside you
We love you, Chris

It was beautiful and moving and made me cry with emotion as we remembered my brother. But I think I'll always think of my Dad as "above me." He's my Dad! He deserves that spot up there. We don't relate as "peers." I am still his "little girl."

I doubt my Dad will read this.. though it's possible. If he happens to stumble across it some day, like he did the YouTube video, I hope he'll forgive me for blogging about him. So here is the public toast I make for him:

You guide, You teach, You understand,
You honor me with your praise

With respect and love, I'll take my wine
And to you my glass I'll raise

I love you, Dad

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