My dad is magnificent for many reasons, but of course the best, most important reason is that the man loves musicals.
Is this perplexing? He is better known as an extreme lover of M.A.S.H., baseball, martial arts films, the occasional western. He thought ‘The Exorcist’ was a movie I would greatly enjoy, at age six. But growing up, family movie nights were mostly in song. And not only did he never complain, he could be counted on having a deep look of appreciation whenever the music was extra moving.
This week, after a quiet, immobile half-hour in his chair, he suddenly started. “Do we have My Fair Lady?” he almost shouted. I stumbled, looking for the VHS remote. For the next few hours, every time I passed his den door, bits of my childhood sang at me. Since then, scenes from Flower Drum Song, South Pacific, and a variety of Hayley Mills movies have wafted through the air. He sings them, too. Hovering over dishes, my dad’s voice quivers and creaks and mumbles, watery, “a hundred million miracles.”
Admittedly it has been a hard year, a difficult year. Apart from the mean whims of dad J’s Parkinson’s, I’ve spent a good portion of the year wrapped up in insecurity. Tormented. This year I’ve looked at the people around me, watched how they move and progress, and have felt totally lame in comparison. A pool of standing water.
It’s a horrible feeling to be discontent with one’s present. But the feeling is beginning to pass. Because, I’ve realized that I’m very fortunate to hear my dad’s terrible voice, warbling around corners. I’m incredibly blessed with time to relish his familiarity, and mom J’s too. “Cat’s in the Cradle,” I hear you. Noted.
Next week, we will all be celebrating a great holiday. And in honor of it, what I most want to say is that I’m so happy with today. And, I’m grateful for the feeling.