Understanding Dad


If you asked me who would play my father in a movie, I would cast the late Edward Herrmann. My father is an earnest and reclusive man with a clever sense of people and humor, not unlike Herrmann’s noteworthy character, Richard Gilmore. My father is a conventional man who is wise, and kind, and giving. There is so much more to him than he will reveal to you, but for those of us who know him as dad, his success and humble nature is obvious.


When I was little, my mother stayed home to raise my brother and me; meanwhile, my dad ran his own family practice clinic throughout the day and delivered babies into the night. I’ve always loved telling people that my dad delivers babies. For far too long, I believed that my dad was essentially a glorified uber driver who used his mini van to transport newborn babies from the hospital to their parent’s house. Obviously, I figured that one out eventually. I will always remember the sound of my dad’s pager going off in the middle of the night, a signal I took to mean that I could take his place in bed with my mom.


My father is much too smart to be the 21st century version of the stork. In fact, I think my father is the most intelligent man that I know. Before he became a doctor, he worked as an engineer. He’s clearly a very logical thinker, but he’s also creative in his practice and in his methods of being an upstanding man. Instead of getting his ph.D and working for a big fancy hospital, he opened a small clinic of his own, which he eventually moved to the south side of Milwaukee where my dad treated the underserved in the most segregated city in America.

It took me most of my life to recognize that the more complicated aspects of my father’s mind are what make us so similar. Sure, we both make and enjoy a badass cup of coffee, and sure we both love to read, those things have always been obvious to me.


It wasn’t until I started my own business at 22 that it clicked for me. In order to understand my dad, I had to move away from home, I had to travel, I had to educate myself, I had to develop the deeper parts of myself before I could realize that my father is the most remarkable person that I know. Now that I work for and by myself, I realize how tough it is to go it alone, to work your ass off, and to maintain your social consciousness. However, I know that I have it easier than most, because I never truly feel alone when all the help and advice I need is two taps on an iPhone away.


I asked my dad once what the best thing about delivering babies was. He told me, “When I’m headed home and I know that everyone is healthy and happy.” His answer confused me at first, I thought it was boring, but as I grew older and began to recognize my dad as an individual - he is a protector, a lion, a man who is thrilled with quiet joy, easy living, and a double scotch on the rocks at the end of a long day.


Alexandra Gerard is a freelance hustler in Chicago; she provides photography, blogging, and social media services. You can find her on instagram: @itsyagrlgerry.

© 2020 Memoir for Me

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