Big Al asked me an unexpected question a few years back.
It was amidst one of those Ruthy-checking-in-on-Tash’s-status-of-dating-Jewish-men conversations.
It came out of nowhere.
He’s usually the one to stay fairly quiet in those chats.
He learnt a while ago, in situations like this, silence is his best option…
When, one day, Ruthy tried the “are you EVER going to date a Jewish man, Natasha?” and I replied with the biting “Until I’m 38 and unwed, Mother, you have no leg on which to stand when judging me.” good old Daddy dearest played the “I could say something, couldn’t I, Tash?”.
“You could, Daddy-O, but you know better.”
And now he does.
But, nonetheless, in a quiet moment between baited words from Ruthy to myself (or vice versa), Big Al piped up…
Do you think you’ve already met the man you’ll marry?
It was the kind of question that you don’t expect.
And asked with the kind of innocent, well-meaning, earnestness that you’d expect from a mini-human.
Did he know something I didn’t know?
How did he know this?
Why was he asking this?
Did a boy I knew have words with him about his secret love for me?
On one level, I understood it.
Big Al met his first wife when he was but a child.
A tale as old as time!
My elder sister met her now-husband when she was 17.
They’ve been together ever since.
There’s many-a teen film based on that premise!
Even my brother – who was known as a player in his time – met his now-wife at 21.
A reformed “bad boy” turned good.
Another tried and tested story!
And here I was, the youngest child of my father, well past those ages and with no sign of settling down.
But from my perspective – that question threw me.
How could I answer?
I had no idea!
If I knew the answer, surely I’d be on the path to marriage already?!
I think, at the time, I pressed him as to why he’d asked such a thing.
“I don’t know.” says Big Al.
“What do you know?”
“Do you know something?”
“I don’t know. I just thought you may know.”
Cut to a few years later.
This questions haunts me still.
It’s not like the man was on his deathbed and these were his final words to me or anything, but part of me thinks that (whether he knows it or not) there was a reason he asked me this question.
That’s weird, right?
I’m a bit weird.
As I may have hinted toward before, I don’t really have a firm belief in G-d.
I’d call myself an Agnostic Jew.
But – and I realise this is a little less pragmatic than my general attitude in life – I’m not completely against believing a little in “signs”.
Or trusting in some unknown “something” in the universe.
I know – this is taking a turn… Stay with me…
Every now and then I’ve had a dream about something that’s then come true…
I’ve experienced the kind of crazy coincidence that happens to other people once in a lifetime more than once in a month…
You know – that kind of “weirdo” stuff.
So this question is one of those things.
I mean, on the surface it’s the kind of bizarre question that someone asks one day, completely out of nowhere and that you should just forget about.
Except that I’m Tash.
An over-thinker from waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back.
I don’t forget about things.
There are boys who have drifted in and out of my life over the years.
Each time they drift back, that thought comes back into my head.
Do you think you’ve already met the man you’ll marry?
And the over-thinking begins again.
There is no way of knowing what makes fathers ask the odd questions they do.
There is no way of making them understand why they ask them either.
But my dad (if not yours also) comes out with grits of wisdom every now and then.
They’re not quite pearls, you see…
Ruthy is well known for throwing her two cents in. And often.
And Daddy-O definitely has opinions – please don’t let this read as though he were a passive, impartial member of the family!
But, issuing opinions about personal matters of the heart are often relayed via my mother rather than coming directly from him.
Which made this input all the more unexpected.
The answer to Big Al’s question remains:
I do not know.
How would I know?
But the point stands:
This was his way of showing it.
Without having a battle.
Without the usual “I’m only asking because I caaaare!”
Parents never stop caring.
Never stop worrying.
Never stop being parents.
Which means asking weird and wonderful questions.
Don’t let those questions unravel you.
Find the love in them.
Allow them to help you self-reflect.
And if you do know the answers to the questions – be thankful that you had someone there to open your eyes to the things you already knew!
So, really, I guess this lesson is an addendum to an existing lesson (which some beardy guy wrote – I can’t claim credit for the original!):
Honour thy father and mother
Said that guy.
And the bizarre sounding questions they ask of you.
Says Rabbit Ash.
2 thoughts on “Lesson 20”
I do love reading these insights into your mind Tash 😎
On the subject of knowing if you’ve met ‘the one’ I had a very strong feeling when I met Laura, that we would be perfect together, there was definitely a strong attraction but when we met it wasn’t the right time. 2 years later, our friendship blossomed into romance, and 7 years later we were married!
I think what I’m basically saying is that ‘when you know, you know’ or some other nugget of cliché wisdom.
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and now you’re having a baaaaby!
that is lovely to know and hear and thanks for letting ME know that dad has a reason for such questions…! haha!
and thanks for reading! 🙂 x