Blog: For Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Jews... Or, Much A-Blog About Nothing...

Monday, November 13, 2006

Dad is great! Gives us chocolate cake!

Click on the title for the link to PT's original post. Read on for my thoughts that are only related to said post in terms of the fact that they are about my Dad:

This post is dedicated to my adorable, goofy Dad. I call him Pappa, actually, and have since I was little. I can remember all of my friends at school looking at me funny because I didn't call him Dad or Daddy. But he wasn't Dad. He wasn't Daddy. He was Pappa. I didn't know why until I was a little older, I just knew that I didn't call him anything but Pappa. My Mom tells me that when they got married, he insisted that no matter what, the children were not going to call him Dad or Daddy, it was going to be Pappa or else they'd call him by his first name, but he wanted them to use the Swedish word. I'm almost 22 and I still can't bring myself to call him anything but Pappa.

Anyhoo, over the years many a person has commented on how much I resemble my dear old Pa, both in terms of looks and personality (I've yet to determine if either way is complimentary, but alas). My Pappa is a character, someone I look up to immensely yet often find myself groaning in embarrassment from in front of other people. Of course, as PT (and Shfira, too, I believe) has said, parents live to embarrass their kids, and I think this is especially true of fathers, because we all know that wives are really second moms to their husbands. ;-)

My Pappa is funny. He's smart. So smart, even, that I kid you not, many of my friends are convinced that he's a spy. Obviously, we will never know, for if he is/was, he cannot tell us about it. But we get a kick out of dreaming up crazy spy stories and adventures for PappaHila to go on, fighting evil and terror worldwide! LOL.

The reason I was inspired to write this post was a conversation I had with my Pappa this weekend. You see, the school I go to has a Dad's Weekend in the fall, and a Mom's Weekend in the spring. So PappaHila came to visit me for the weekend. It is a rare occasion that I get to spend one-on-one time with my pops, so it was a great time. It was especially great to get to talk to him about a variety of things, instead of just the usual things we talk about, like school and financial aid and all the minute details of life. Instead, we had a really interesting and lengthy talk about religion. I guess I've never really talked too much on here about how I've come to want to be Jewish, and I'll save it for another post 'cuz otherwise it'd take forever, but suffice it to say that my Pappa did not grow up being religious at all. He told me this weekend that he pretty much decided around the time of his Confirmation in the Lutheran Church (which used to be the State Church of Sweden, when PappaHila was growing up there) that he thought it was pretty much poppycock and that he wasn't going to swallow all the hoohah that they were trying to push down his throat. Instead, he says, he decided that he'd figure out what religions/G-d/spirituality were all about on his own, in his own way, and on his own terms. Hmmm, so THAT'S where I get my independent/stubborn streak from?? No way!!

So anyway, we were sitting in my dorm room, and he happened to notice the plethora of books on Judaism lining my shelves---I explained that some of them were for classes I had taken/was taking, and that others were just ones I found interesting. And that's when we got to talking about religion, etc. It was interesting to talk to my Pappa about this stuff, because he didn't try to lecture me about wrong vs. right or anything, he didn't try to tell me I was a nutjob for not believing in Jesus, etc. He just listened to me, applauded me for having done my homework and research, and told me that he firmly believes that the most important thing is for someone to find their own path, whatever it may be, that works for them and fulfills whatever needs they have. So, he said, if that means Judaism or Islam or Buddhism, then do it. "I don't have to agree with you to see your point of view." I couldn't agree more. I don't believe anyone else is "wrong" in the sense that they aren't entitled to fulfillment via religious practice just as much as I am because I've picked the "right" religion, I just don't identify/understand their beliefs because they don't make sense to me. And that's ok. It doesn't have to make sense because I've found what does.

I am so lucky that my Pappa is so understanding. Finding where one fits in the world is difficult, and religion/spirituality is often the most controversial one amongst families. Baruch Hashem, my father understands my need to do my own thang, and hasn't tried to make me feel ashamed for following what I believe. I am so lucky.


RaggedyMom said...

Hila, what a poignant and beautiful tribute to your Pappa! RaggedyDad is Russian, and speaks to our kids only in Russian, so they call him Papa. In most families around here, kids call their fathers Abba (that's what I call mine), Daddy, or Tatty. Ann likes to tell me what various other kids call their "Papas" - as in, that is the natural word for her to use, and other kids have a translation for Papa. What a special, openminded man you portray your father to be - I'm sure you're so grateful for the unconditional love and support!

PsychoToddler said...

Sounds like you have a great Pappa and a healthy relationship. I hope to have similar ones with my own kids.

That being said, I wouldn't be too happy if one of my kids decided to switch teams. But maybe that's because I feel very strongly about my own culture and religion.

Point of protocol: I am PT and my daughter is The PT (like The Cheat from Homestarrunner).

socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Great blog and nice ode to dad. Good luck!

HilaHoney said...


Thanks! So glad to hear about your little ones! They're preciout.

Yeah, my Dad's proud of his culture--Sweden rocks LOL--but religion wasn't much of a part of that, so he's happy I've found my *place*
Sorry about the name mix-up, I'll be sure to correct it. I'm ashamed, I'm an avid Homestar fan, I should have caught that! Thanks for stopping by, though!

Thanks! Same to you! Stop by any time :-)


Elisheva said...

Just found your blog - love the tribute to your pop. You are indeed one lucky girl. When I told my pop I wanted to convert to Judaism, he went balistic. Racial slurs, you are "going to hell" remarks, etc. Needless to say, he disowned me when I converted. But that's fine, he wasn't such a good pop to begin with.

Anyway...I look forward to reading more of your story about why you want to be Jewish. :)