February 17, 2007

My dad is here

Well, my dad finally decided to visit us for Christmas this weekend. You may remember that he had planned to come up to visit over Christmas, but I told him in an e-mail before he came that I no longer believed the church was true, so he decided not to visit for Christmas as planned.

Today is the first I've seen him or talked to him since my e-mail to him before Christmas. Twice since then I've e-mailed him greetings and asked him if he'd like to discuss my disillusionment with the church, but he never even responded to my e-mails.

Tonight, we exchanged Christmas gifts and he saved the best for last...I looked over and he was holding up a DVD or game, I couldn't tell which since he was across the room. I smiled and asked him to throw it to me...it was a 3-DVD copy of the 176th Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

I kept the smile on my face and said, "Oh....nice."

"Actually, that's for your sister. I've actually been holding copies of this for each of you since before you RUINED CHRISTMAS FOR ME." I handed the movie to my sister who was beside me on my couch and looked at my dad.

"It was not my intention to ruin Christmas for you, Dad." I said this calmly and clearly.

"The second DVD has footage of me singing in the Priesthood Session of Conference with the men's choir from Brigham City. I had hoped to watch it with you."

"Sure thing, put it in and we'll watch it."

We sat through three hymns before the final song where he is visible near the end twice when the camera pans over them slowly. We had a tense moment when he got upset that my dog barked in the middle of this "spiritual moment," and when he told my dog to keep it quiet, I got to experience again that awful voice he gets when he speaks with teeth clenched in utter controlling, uptight anger. I hate that voice.

They ended up leaving with the DVD of Conference, and I didn't get one. I'm kind of surprised he didn't want to leave one for us.

The choir sang beautifully. We only made fun of a couple of the singers for enunciating so dramatically that it warranted an instant replay or two for laughs. Was that dude yawning or was he just singing?! When I saw my dad on the screen, I made sure to tell him how handsome he looked, and I complimented him on how well they sang, and asked him questions to let him know I was interested in his accomplishment and joy in singing at such a prestigious [to him] event.

Interestingly, the Priesthood Session my dad sang at was the one that had a couple of talks that I thought were highly...how shall I word this?...DISGUSTING.

One was by D. Todd Christofferson who spoke about his dad who saved up for a year in order to buy his wife an ironing machine, because she had had cancer surgery that removed much of the tissue in her neck and shoulder, causing her extreme pain when she used her right arm. He took her to the store to buy the machine, and she asked how he could afford such a thing. He told her he'd been saving lunch money for almost a year in order to do this for her.

"Now when you iron" he said "you won't have to stop and go into the bedroom and cry until the pain in your arm stops." She didn't know he knew about that. I was not aware of of my father's sacrifice and act of love for my mother at the time, but now that I know I say to myself, "There is a man."

Um....yeah. It's a real big man who makes his wife CONTINUE TO PAINFULLY IRON FOR A YEAR in a household with five boys, letting her cry in pain each time, without offering to do it himself instead. What a "sacrifice."

I just threw up in my mouth a little.

The other talk was given by our very own prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley. It was the one in which he said,

"It is plainly evident from these statistics that young women are exceeding young men in pursuing educational programs. And so I say to you young men, rise up and discipline yourself to take advantage of educational opportunities. Do you wish to marry a girl whose education has been far superior to your own? We speak of being "equally yoked." That applies, I think, to the matter of education."

Niiiiiice. I'm not even going to grace this dumbass comment with a response.

Maybe it's a good thing Dad didn't gift me that DVD set after all.

One thing that kept me smiling during the hymns: my non-member brother-in-law kept playing with and laughing at the rubber chicken Dad gave my son for Christmas.



Dave Sigmann said...

Wow, I am sorry, SML. *hugs* My dad said such things as, "you ruined my Christmas", too. I cringed as well when I read about your dad yelling at your dog. My dad is a yeller, and I hated that growing up as a child. Hopefully, our dads will mellow as time goes by.

aka madre said...

OMG, Lisa. I'm so sorry. What a "fun" evening you had! But, I had to LOVE the fact that wonderful A played with the rubber chicken throughout the entire thing. Giggle, giggle. And what did G you say to him????? "Keep it down over there!?!" What did Dart think? Wow...the man never ceases to amaze me...and I lived with him for 23 yrs! aka madre

Hellmut said...

Right, marrying a woman who is smarter than you is the worst thing that can happen to a guy. You might as well marry a feminist who likes sex, life and herself.

I will never forget the general conference where Gordon patted his wife Marjorie on the top of her head as if she were an obedient pet.

What an inappropriate gesture for an adult, especially one's love.

Taking everything into account, it sounds like the evening went relatively well. It is nice of you to share your dad's triumph.

It's difficult for him, too. If I had been in his place then I would have felt very insecure.

Cele said...

Wow, the immaturity of your father amazes me. But from the examples I've seen, the Mormon Church seems to foster immaturity in their male brethren.

You and your family did well in sucking it up and sharing the love, and yet your father will never see that you guys are the bigger (and more giving of yourselfs) than he. You don't have an agenda.

Your view of ironing story is so very right on.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Dave, I suspect many of us had dads like this, sadly. And, my dad didn't yell at the dog, it was more a controlled, tight, grinding voice that barked out at the dog. No pun intended, it is just the perfect word to describe it.

Madre, it was an OK evening. He didn't say anything over the play with the chicken. Just lost his lips.

Hellmut, GBH patted her head?? Nice.

Cele, yeah, it was an OK night. Could've been way worse. It helped my husband didn't leave the room so I didn't have to talk to my dad about the church.

emerging from the ashes said...

Virtual hugs going your way. Wow.


Ugh, those talks were awful, weren't they?

That was very big of you to watch the songs with your dad.

Simeon's . . . Turning the Corner said...

Merry Smithmas! What a crazy way to celebrate. I was thinking about getting a copy of that dvd so I could experience this moment for myself.

"said" Woman said...

Dysfunction at Christmas is hard enough but to have to deal with it in February is just plain cruel. If I ever have an ironing board purchased for me as a gift, I won't cry. I will kill.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Hi FTA! I have no problem listening to beautiful music. Especially if my dad or someone I love is singing. I support the arts all the way!

Simeon, if you do buy yourself the DVD set, then e-mail me so I can direct you to the guy who looked so damn funny singing with his mouth WAY TOO BIG on the O words. Ha ha ha!

Hi "said" Woman! The ironing board story graveled me too. Ugh.

kitten said...

Wow, so there's someone else out there that my dad is like...except mine never shuts up about how disappointed he is in me and my wrong choices, as he so eloquently puts it. BTW, I know exactly what you mean about the attitude of those types of men. I grew up in a church that was started by a "reformed" Baptist minister and his wife was a "former" mormon who was a traditionalist in her thinking about men and their roles *sigh*. I wonder when people will get a clue and figure out that women truly are as good as men and many times they are way smarter, to boot.

belaja said...

SML, you are a class act all the way! This plus all that work you had to do (and you didn't even tell him to button it lol).

But you know my favorite part of this post? The phrase "lose his lips." I could just picture it! And while I am sure the facial expression is meant to somehow be threatening and intimidating, the verbal expression makes it seem so ridiculous--I had to LOL. It makes me picture a man's lips being sucked inward into his face as if by some sort of suction effect and then suddenly noticing and frantically looking around for his missing lips. I suppose he didn't do it on the DVD, though? That would have been another good singing moment ;-)

(and you took the high road to the high ground--good for you!)

Taiko Tari said...

Hi SML, sorry to hear about your dad.

Curious, though, did your dog actually oblige and stop barking?

Just one of many said...

My husbands mom prefers to ignore us and our having left the church. We live in the same town and have only seen her twice in 9 months...both funeral related! The stories that once tugged at my molly mormon heart strings now make me sick and woozie! LOVED the story about the ironing! It exemplifies the male patriarchal domination.
When I got married, I had more education that my husband. That was what he found attractive. I guess I didn't fit the ignorant, teenage,barefoot pregnant bride role the church deems as appropriate for a woman!
I didn't pursue a law degree so I could put my husband through his medical route. I dropped out because I felt like I wasn't being a proper LDS woman. I always got comments like: "How are you going to have children with such a demanding career?" "They will be subject to the buffetings of Satan if you are not home (ie:baking and popping out more spirits)!"

JMK said...

Your Gen. Conf. examples are exactly among the reasons why I can't listen to or watch GC anymore. The patronizing tones in all the sessions and insecurity manifest in the priesthood session just makes me sad and tired.

dartman113 said...

Just to share my thoughts. Over all the visit was rather pleasant. Yes, he did lose his lips over the dog barking and unfortunately J took the blame since he was playing with the dog at the time. We should have let him keep playing with the dog to see what else my father-in-law would have lost. I don't understand why we had to be really quite to listen to the one song. Even with no noise you couldn't understand a word they were saying because it didn't have the little "bouncing halo" to follow. The downside of NOT receiving the DVD set is that we are running short of coasters in the house. L remember you could never ruin anything for anyone - THEY ruin thing for themselves. Love Always

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Kitten, yeah, there are a lot of dads like mine, I think. Sadly.

Belaja, my dad already has rather thin/nonexistent lips, but when he's mad, the area where lips should be kind of goes all white and it does look funny.

Tari, Dad got mad once when the dog barked only once because my son didn't throw his toy fast enough...we should've said "let the dog play, Dad."

Joom, I'm sure your brains weren't the only attractive thing that your hubby liked!!

JMK, sad and tired is a good way to word it.

Dartman, bouncing halo?? Funny! Also, I love your idea of using the DVD box as a coaster! What a grand idea. We should ask Dad for a copy...of course, he'll think maybe that I'm coming back into the fold, and that will lead to further stupid comments from him in the future...

C.L. Hanson said...

Kudos on making an effort to keep things positive in spite of all of that!!!

Did you see that Darque had written about that ironing story here?

It boggles the mind that anyone could get warm fuzzies from that story instead of being horrified by it.

C.L. Hanson said...

Oops, I guess you did see that post since -- as I just noticed -- you left a comment on it... ;-)

wry catcher said...

Ah parents. Who else has such power to reduce us instantly to children again. Yuk.

I can't believe he pointed out how you ruined his christmas. Yes, because, as we all know, enjoyment of major holidays IS in fact predicated on emails from one's family members.

"Losing his lips" cracked me up. I once had a horror of a boss with the same tendency, and when she'd get mad, we'd always call it 'thin-lipping,' or TL/-ing, which could be said in her vicinity without her cottoning.

Nice that you played it so well, SML. You're a class act.

Beulah said...

That ironing story is just disturbing!

CV Rick said...

My own father loses his lips in that very same way. I know that look well, because when it happened in public I knew to expect him to use the belt on me when we got home or when company left. So proper and perfect in front of other members, but not willing to "spoil the child" by "sparing the rod."

Ironing board? What a horrible man.

And God forbid that a woman has more education that her owner. Oh, excuse me, I mean her husband. Jeez. I am quite blessed to have brilliant women around me, one my partner and one a teenage daughter and I'm grateful every day for their talents, education and intelligence. I hope they're smarter than me, I'd be happy if my daughter exceeding the education of every person on earth. Misogynists be damned.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

CV Rick, I'm glad you have women around you who are great. And I'm sorry that you had the same belt action that I also lived through growing up. Ugh.

http://anubys.wordpress.com said...

I think it was smart to make boundaries about not talking about religion. as you can see from my recent story they can turn out really bad. its so sad how religion can put up a wall between people (ie my dad and me; your dad and you). why can't people just love people for who they are and leave the JUDGING to Christ, if they truly believe their doctrine?! sad sad sad, and quite the dilemma we find ourselves in.