Saturday, May 5, 2012

For My Dad


My dad died two weeks ago.

His health had been declining due to PSP for about seven years. My mother called me on a Thursday to tell me that my dad wasn’t doing well and on Friday she called back to say that we probably ought to come see him, that it wouldn’t be long before he would pass away. We got there on Saturday and he was in that coma-like state that often precedes death. He lived until the following Saturday, never waking up and only opening one eye once, a few hours after I got there.

The night before the funeral, my husband sat down with my mom and asked her some questions about my dad in preparation for officiating my dad’s funeral. My mom told my husband about the time that my dad saved my grandmother, his mother-in-law from drowning when no one else saw her go underwater and not come back up. My grandmother came to see my dad the morning before he died, and thanked him again for saving her more than four decades earlier.

Mom told him about how my dad worked until late into the evening shortly after they were married, but one night didn’t come home. So after waiting for him for a couple of hours, she walked down the street to a store to a pay phone to call her father-in-law to tell him that my dad was missing. As she was on the phone, she saw my dad drive by. Once she got back home, he explained that he had stopped to help a man on the side of the road who had run out of gas. My mom was worried sick, but my dad was just helping a stranger out. He did things like that often over the years.

We told my husband about driving through Oregon when I was about 10. We came upon a man who had just had a motor cycle accident on a two lane road in the middle of nowhere and so we stopped to pick him up and take him to the nearest hospital, even though we were on a vacation.

I remember hearing about how, shortly after moving to Tennessee from Dallas, my dad was nearly run over on the street outside his office building because he was walking with a black woman to go get lunch. I suppose the driver thought that my dad and his coworker were a couple and wanted to convey that that sort of thing wasn’t tolerated in this city.

I remember realizing that there were certain derogatory words that were suddenly part of the everyday speech that I heard in our new town that I had never heard at home, and I was proud that I’d never heard those words come from my parent’s lips.

My dad taught me right from wrong; there were morals to live by and you always did the right thing, even if no one was watching because integrity was important.

I remember how protective my dad was of me; he knew how the world operated and he wanted to keep me as safe as possible from harm. I thought of it as smothering, but I also knew that he loved me. I was glad for his rules, even as a kid.

When I was about 17, I was invited to go take a ride with a friend and her boyfriend. I did NOT want to do this because I didn’t trust their driving skills, so I told them I’d have to ask my dad, certain that he would tell me no. He told me I could go, much to my chagrin. Later, I told him that I really wanted him to tell me no so that I could use him as an excuse to stay out of a dangerous situation. I think I really shocked him! He told me that if I were in that situation again, I was free to say that my dad wouldn’t want me to do whatever it was that I didn’t want to do, so that he wouldn’t give me the wrong answer again!

I remember a conversation in the car when he told me how much he loved my mom. He would come home from work around the time that she would start cooking, and would put his arms around her and kiss her neck while she cooked. My sister and I would make gagging noises, but I secretly loved to see him show her affection.
I also remember having The Talk with my mom when I first learned about sex, but a couple of years later, I got The Talk again from my dad, who wanted me to know how boys thought, and not just how their bodies work. I still laugh when I think about how uncomfortable he was with that brief monologue.

We had another Talk during my early teen years about God. I remember thinking that this particular talk must be as difficult and uncomfortable for him as The Other Talk was. I think he felt like he needed to talk to me about God, even though he didn’t go to church.
When I was about 17, he started going to church with my mom, sister, and me. We never really talked about God much, even then. But he was proud of me when I decided to go to a local Christian liberal arts college. I became a Christian during my freshman year, and began to get involved in Bible studies and fell in love with theology. My mom told me the night before the funeral that my dad was impressed with how I studied Scripture. I never knew that Ihad made an impression on him!

I’m not sure what he thought when I moved back to Dallas at 20 years old to marry a boy who was a youth minister. My mom said that he cried when I left home. But he gave my husband his blessing when asked for my hand in marriage.

My children will have no memories of my dad when he wasn’t using a walker or bed-ridden. My youngest two may have no memories of him at all as they get older. But when they are older, I’ll remind them of how, just a few weeks before he died, they sat on his bed feeding him M&Ms. And when I hear Unchained Melody, I’ll tell them how much he loved that song. And one day, when I get my dad’s Bible, I’ll show them the leather Bible cover that he made and tooled by hand. I’ll show them the craftsmanship and the intricate designs that he chiseled into the leather with no pattern to follow. I’ll tell them how talented he was and how his dad taught him to tool saddles in west Texas.

They’ll know how much my dad loved Texas because of the Texas soil that I have in a little glass bottle…a little portion of the soil that each of us sprinkled onto my dad’s vault after he was lowered into the ground.

But mostly, I’ll tell them how much he loved each of them. And I’ll tell them how much I loved him.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Term “Flip-Flop” Comes To Mind…

Every month like clockwork my body produces an egg. Most of them, all but two, have been flushed through my reproductive system and out again with my monthly cycle. Producing eggs doesn’t make me a mother. It just means I have ovaries that function normally.

You know what I find amazingly illogical and yet somewhat amusing? Our culture, which has bought into the idea that science is the ultimate authority, that only empirical data can guide us, can so cleanly sweep all of that away by claiming that love is the glue that makes a family. Science is god until that god fails to uphold whatever issue is at stake; then emotion becomes god.

Come on, all of you who tell me that I’m foolish to look to the God of Scripture, who never changes, for my standard of right and wrong…where is your consistency?
You want to cling to science for all you’re worth when it comes to philosophy of life. But when biology tells one story, we turn to emotion to write another story. You refuse to believe in something other than what can be measured in a laboratory by using the scientific method. But when the empirical evidence is weighed against you, you turn to feelings and emotions to make your case.

You say that a parent is the one who raises a child and that a sperm or egg “donor” is not a parent, but that flies in the face of science and empirical data. Your god betrays you when DNA concludes that a “donor” is indeed a parent. So you turn to emotion and reject biology.

So get offended all you want, Sierras of the world. Your denial and anger don’t change biology.

Monday, November 21, 2011

More Anonymous Father's Day Information

Please check out these links and tell your friends!
https://prescreen.com/movie/Anonymous-Fathers-Day (TODAY -Monday 11/21- ONLY, you can spend $4 to watch AFD streaming online for the next 59 days; after today, the price will be $8)

https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/AnonFathersDay This is the AFD facebook page.

http://www.anonymousfathersday.com/ This is the official homepage for AFD

http://twitter.com/#!/AnonFathersDay on Twitter

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Official Anonymous Father's Day Trailer!


This is the official trailer for the new film that I am privileged to be part of! I'm the first chick in blue.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Timing is Everything

Karen posted a link here to go to Anderson Cooper’s clip about babies being sold to the highest bidder. I watched that video this morning, and wondered about the outrage that these people in the clip showed.

I didn’t wonder about their outrage because I thought they were over-reacting.

I wondered about it because when you get down to it, there’s only one thing that differentiates this situation from a typical surrogacy situation – the time line.

In a typical situation, the intended parents pick out the egg, pick out the sperm, and pick out the woman who will carry the baby, then the woman gets pregnant, has the baby, and everyone is happy.

In this case, the intended parents come in at the end.

So it’s a matter of timing.

I do think that this is a terrible situation, but aside from the fact that this is illegal while it’s perfectly legal to rearrange the order of events, why are people getting their panties in a wad? If any of them thought this through logically, they would see that their anger and disgust should be directed at the entire industry that profits from the commodification of people, no matter when the intended parents come into the picture.

Come on, people, don’t let a timeline dictate how you see what is right and wrong!

Originally posted here: http://familyscholars.org/2011/10/25/timing-is-everything/

Monday, July 18, 2011

Anonymous Father's Day

Last Friday, I was interviewed for Jennifer Lahl's new film, Anonymous Father's Day. This was my first time being filmed, unless you count Christmas mornings, and I was very honored to take part in this project. You can see a video preview here:

http://donorchild.blogspot.com/2011/06/teaser-of-jennifer-lahls-new-film.html

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Teaser of Jennifer Lahl's New Film


UPDATE: Please click here to see the "official" trailer of Anonymous Father's Day!