Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Sudden Realization

Not long after I met my former boss in Neal, the topic that I was a regular church goer came up. I remember he said something like, "I've never met a Greek person for whom the church isn't the center of their life."

Naw, I protested, I just go to church.

Last Saturday, as Kelly, the boys and I ate breakfast in the little gym at Prophet Elias, I suddenly realized, I'd become one of those Greeks Neal was talking about.

Kelly noted that after Holy Liturgy on Sunday, the boys would have been at church every day of the week: 5 for school, once for Scouts, once for breakfast with Santa, and then for Holy Liturgy.

Eh, it could be a worse - we could be Evangelical snake handlers!

The boys chatting with Ol' Saint Nick

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

But My Mom Thinks I'm Cute

Tonight the boys and I were making dinner when the topic of conversation turned to some kids at school and how tall (or not) some of them are. One of the kids, whose name came up is a 4th grade girl whom Niko secretly declared to his teacher he plans to marry. When Gus teased him about it again, Niko decided he was just joking and didn't want to marry her after all.

I casually mentioned that I didn't marry the person I said I would when I was in Kindergarten either. A barrage of questions followed: Who was it? (Michelle) What happened to her? (She married a guy named David right after high school; they've been married a really long time now.)

Then Gus asked if I had kissed her. No, I never kissed her. But I do remember the first girl I kissed.

With a healthy mixture of utter disgust and budding curiosity, Gus asked me who she was. I told him her name was Rene and it had happened when we were in 7th grade. He immediately wanted to know the details. I told him we were in a play together and one day during rehearsal, she and I were standing outside of the theater talking, and she leaned in and kissed me. But, just at that moment, some of her friends came out and saw, so she pushed me and told me to "never do that again!"

Gus smirked at Rene's coyness. Niko split a gut laughing at the image of me being kissed by a girl.

After a pause, Gus asked why she had done it. But as I explained that she didn't want her friends to think she had kissed me, Gus interrupted and said, "No. Why did she kiss you?"

Why did she kiss me? 'Cuz I'm a hottie. That simple response was met with peals of laughter from both the boys. Between deep guffawing, desperate for a breath, Gus finally spat out: "Daddy, you are not a hottie."

What could I say, my mom thinks I'm a cute?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Tie from My Dad

86 years ago today in a house in Copperton, Bingham Canyon, Utah a baby boy was born to Greek immigrants. He was their 4th child, and only living son at the time. 39 1/2 years later, he would become my dad.

Those 40 years between his birth and mine always fascinated me - trying to imagine your father as a little boy, as a teenager - is nearly impossible. Sure, I've seen photos of him and I've heard plenty of stories, but it's not quite the same. Stories are clouded by the teller's viewpoint.

For example, through my yia yia's eyes, I saw a nearly perfect child, who never gave her a moment's pause. However, my aunts and uncle have had a slightly different take on Dad's history.

I suppose fathers want their sons' to be just like them growing up, but I'm pretty sure I wasn't just like Dad as a kid. I couldn't be. No, I didn't need to be.

Even though as a kid we were just a middle class family, compared to the Great Depression of his childhood, we were billionaires! This allowed me to be coddled, to be spoiled - a luxury his parents didn't have. Whereas I had theater and debate and tennis after school, his school day was followed by hours at the mine - to help support his family.

In the one story Yia yia told me I do believe 100%, she said Dad came home with his first pay envelope, dutifully handing it over to his mother without complaint. She had to call him back and give him a little of the money he had worked so hard to earn.

That story has stayed with me from the first time I heard it. Every time someone tells me they feel bad that I have to wear a tie at work, I quickly tell them that my dad spent over 40 years at the mine to send me to college so I could sit in an office and wear a tie.

Maybe that's what my dad's childhood was like: planning, dreaming so that his kids would have an even better life than he did. Come to think of it, maybe our childhoods weren't so different after all.

Happy birthday, Daddy. Thank you for letting me wear ties.