As everyone probably knows, there was a huge earthquake in Christchurch on Saturday morning. Both of my parents are from Christchurch and most of my family still lives there, and my brother and I spent pretty much all of our school holidays there growing up. I was down there visiting family a couple of months ago — it’s basically my adopted second home.
The quake woke me up, but by the time it made it up here it was almost out of steam. I actually thought “awww, it’s just a little BABY!” before I went back to sleep. I felt quite fond of that quake, you guys. In Lower Hutt it was soft and rolling, like being rocked in a kindly-intentioned boat.
Yeah. Not so much.
It’s amazing that nobody died. This quake was the same size as the one in Haiti — we’re lucky to have good building codes, and that it happened at 4am. All our family and friends are fine and were spared the worst of the damage, but my heart goes out to those who weren’t.
You can donate to the cleanup here: http://www.redcross.org.nz/donate
(Also, since there’s also been earthquakes in Hawke’s Bay and here in Wellington today, if the whole country should fall into the ocean tomorrow, I want my mother to know I loved her. And I’m sorry I didn’t listen when she told me to get an earthquake kit.)
It was also Fathers’ Day last weekend, which makes it an appropriate time to talk about my dad. So I will.
I’m an unabashed daddy’s girl, internet. I love my dad. He’s the warmest person I know, and the kindest. He thinks he’s much funnier than he is, but his laugh is infectious. He’s a talker, my papa, who loves to meet people and get their stories. My brother inherited that (actually, all my family can talk. Growing up, people thought I was shy, but mostly, I just couldn’t get a word in) but I’d like to think some of his passion for people rubbed off in my writing.
Being adopted, I’m grateful every day to have the family I do. I know how lucky I am to have a good dad. A dad who came to all my sports games and made appalling carrot and vegemite sandwiches; who read us stories at bedtime that later turned out to be mostly made up, and (several moons later) didn’t tell Mum when he picked us up from parties drunk. He always had time to play catch or go biking or give unwanted life advice, and now that we’re adults, he likes to call us up to relay jokes he’s heard, only to forget the punchline halfway through or be unable to get it out because he’s laughing so hard.
He’s super cuddly, my dad, and at 6’4’’, his piggyback rides were always way cooler than rides from other kids’ dads. (Just saying.) My best friend in primary school used to call him Donny Johnny and climb in his lap for a hug — kids and animals have always liked him. He needs regular reminders that very large 64-year-old men can’t just pick up random toddlers for a cuddle, or engage pre-teen girls in one-on-one chit-chat. He’s the kind of guy who starts a conversation with every waiter or shop assistant who crosses his path, genially massaging total strangers out of their life stories. They end up dazed, powerless to resist the sheer weight of his cheerful interest. It drives my mother crazy.
When I moved back home after returning from Canada, Dad would ring me at two in the morning on weekends to check I could get home. He’d always offer to come and pick me up, no matter where I was. (Or that I was twenty-six.) That’s the kind of dad he is. He’s prone to turning up in the office of wherever I work, oblivious to security systems and reception desks, and demanding I take him for coffee. This is actually pretty annoying, but also kind of cute.
He’s nice. I like him.