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A walk with my Dad

There’s a lot of negativity in the world right now and I know we’re all hearing it from every media related outlet so I thought today I’d share something good with you.

This is my favorite memory of time spent with my dad.

My dad Hans holding his granddaughter (my niece) Violet in May 2009

My dad Hans holding his granddaughter (my niece) Violet in May 2009

One hot summer night, when I was 8 or 9 years old I was laying in bed, kicking at the covers, unable to fall asleep my mom came in, having heard me tossing and turning, and asked if I’d like to go for a walk with my dad.

The thought of going for a walk with my dad in the cooling darkness seemed like the most exciting thing in the world to me so I strapped some sandals to my feet and we headed out for a walk with me dressed only in my nightgown.

We ended up at the park a block away and we sat on a picnic bench and looked up at the stars. We talked about space and what might be out there. We talked about stars and other dimensions and all kinds of fascinating possibilities. I was happy as a clam, having what felt like a fantastical and extremely grown up conversation with my dad. He didn’t talk down to me but explained things to me clearly and in a way in which I could easily understand them. This is significant because English is not my father’s first language, it’s not even his second or third language but his sixth, and it is my only language so for him to express himself with such an easy fluidity made that moment even more special.

Eventually our conversation made its way around to the nature of time. My dad described to me his belief that time was not linear, that in our physical plane we experience it that way but that everything is going on at the same time.

I remember this part of the conversation the most clearly because my dad made the most perfect analogy to illustrate the point he was trying to make: he told me that time was like going to a multiplex. There are many movies playing at one time in the building but your physical body can only walk into one theater and watch one movie playing at a time. You know that the other movies are playing in other theaters but you can’t watch more than one at a time. To me, at 8 years old and now, this is such a clear and perfect expression of his thoughts that I have never forgotten it.

I’ve described both this situation and my dad’s movie theater analogy of time to many people. To me it’s a very logical explanation for the world we experience. And given the prevalence of beliefs without logic behind them I feel that it has a valid place, one with some scientific backing. Who knows if it’s true or not. I don’t need to dwell too deeply on that, it’s enough that I take the time to consider every possibility and leave the door open for other possibilities that may be presented in the future.

That summer night long ago shaped my life in a lot of ways and brought me closer to my dad, becoming the beginning of our transition from a small child and parent relationship to one of adult parent and child and friends. I hold this memory very close to my heart and I hope that one day I’ll have just such a moment with my children which will help define our relationship.

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One comment on “A walk with my Dad

  1. I love this! He sounds like a smart guy. Using the multiplex example to teach his little girl about making choices. I used to always equate it with those Choose Your Own Adventure books – I was obsessed by those as a kid. Probably got me into writing, in a way.

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