My Dad’s Love: An Article for my Father 

Elizabeth Hyman

Staff Writer

If you asked me to write about my dad nearly a year ago, we would’ve been estranged, and I would’ve said, “maybe later.” 

It’s a very strange thing, estrangement…eSTRANGEment, maybe it makes sense! I gave up my parents for six months. Six months without guidance, or rather, outside influence. At the time, what I thought I was giving up was just critique and rules and everything else, but I was stupid. I gave up community, I gave up my seat at the dinner table, I gave up a third player for my brothers to game with, I gave up phone calls and I gave up happy stories of my adolescence and trips to Quizno’s and the comic book store and Grandma’s house and everything else. 

I abandoned my family. I abandoned my dad. 

Writing this makes me feel like I’m about to cry, which I guess is how I should be writing this, ‘cause I don’t know if there’s anything else to feel for what I did to him. (I’m happy to report, by the way, that we made up last June, and we’re in a better place than we ever have been.) 

When thinking of my dad, I think of, as I’ve told him before, Batman. Batman broods a lot, and Batman has a lot of shit going on, and his care for Robin or Alfred or whoever isn’t always explicitly shown with ooey-gooey stuff, but Batman has saved their asses I don’t know how many times, and given them structure and leadership and all that. That’s my dad. My dad is the strongest person I have ever met in my entire life, and I hope every day that he knows that I know that. There is so much that he has done for me and my brothers and my mom, things I probably don’t even know about. He has paid for everything I’ve ever needed to pay for, he has given me a person to look to when it has been hard to find discipline, and everything he has ever done, many things I agree and disagree with, has been for the benefit of his family. 

I often think about what would happen to the structure of my family if my dad stopped ticking. We’d fall apart. Every last one of us: my mom, my brothers, my grandparents, his sisters and most of all me. He has more pressure on him than a powder keg, not from us per say, but from himself, to be there for every single one of us, to host, to advocate, to protect, to pay, to listen. How could I be so selfish as to leave him? To leave my family for a time? At what cost to my brothers? (They are fine, thank God, but still, what if they weren’t?) My dad and my mom, I wonder if they’re recovered from it all? My mom cried every night I wasn’t home and I can’t imagine what it did to my dad. What I thought was the worst thing in the world, though it is not always fun to hear about, was criticism, and my dad (with us both being Italian) gave a lot of it, though now I realize, they were all things I needed to think about (the critiques). Everything he has done, he has done for us. 

Since I’m writing about my dad, and halfway to welling up, I want to also share my favorite story with him, and I want him to know I remember these stories. The time he took me to a 3D Spongebob ride, or the time we watched “Star Wars” on the pullout couch and had a lightsaber battle in the hallway afterwards, or the time he bought me a frog stuffie from the zoo, or when I told him I was trans, and when he dropped me off in my dorm, and the Seinfeld marathons, and the Matrix marathon, and the “Is God real?” talks, and us bonding over things that annoy the shit out of us, and my favorite, the Cream of Wheat story, which he knows is my favorite. 

When I was a kid, he made me Cream of Wheat in a pot on the stove every morning, and every morning I would take fistfuls of brown sugar off the countertop and dump them in the oatmeal, and he’d just let me do it, and I’d sit there with EXTREMELY sweet oatmeal and action figures and he just took care of me. I love him so much, and there isn’t a day that goes by where I hope he remembers all these things. 

I am extremely proud to call him dad, and I am even prouder that I can be there for his birthday this year, cause I was MIA for the last one. I don’t know a stronger person, who also has extraordinary patience. I hope he knows how much I love him and how much I see him for what he is, and that I wouldn’t think less of him if he became too tired and let himself relax, but I also know that for the sake of everyone around him and himself, my dad will never quit, and that will forever make me the proudest kid in the world. 

To sum it up, I can easily say that the most comforting noise I have ever heard is hearing him respond to a decision I’ve made. Anytime I hear “Dammit, Liz…”, I think of home. His honesty is what I love the most, because at the end of the day, no one will be as legitimate in their care and parenting as he is. 🙂 

I love you, Dad!!

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