Lance Jay Hermus: My Adorable Father!
I have considered myself extremely lucky to have been able to get through some terribly hard and dark times with my dad and have also had the luxury to tell him how much I love and appreciate him-- through it all. My siblings never had that opportunity, and despite everything that has ever happened in my past (like leaving his home at 14, many months throughout my formative years of not even speaking, and even having a blow out that resulted in my being banned from his home for almost a year when I was 17) I can honestly say that I cherish every moment of having my father. He is so much of my own identity, and raised my brother and I for many years without much help.
AN HOMAGE TO MY DADDY
My father is a man of dreams and ideas.
He fostered my love of art, culture, learning, music, and experience.
He brought me to my first play (Les Miserables when I was 12) and continued to keep us cultured despite not having much money.
He reveled in the fact that I was born middle-aged and would have philosophical conversations with me when I was as young as 6.
He would put on Simon and Garfunkel and we would dance around our living room.
He brought us on road trips up and down the east coast of the US and Canada-- where we discovered, not only beauty, but a deep connection to exploration, finding art museums and thrift shops, and discovering the hidden gems of every little town we could find.
He would work countless amount of hours putting together trip itineraries and mixed-tapes for our adventures.
Every weekend for at least four years we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art where he worked as part of a children's art class-- and I learned art history, discovered my love of drawing on a heightened level, got an inside look at the world of art, explored hidden corridors of this world-famous museum as if it were my own personal playground, and understood how G-d was everywhere since those weekly visits were like church to me. Those years are still such a huge part of my past that fills me with pride and appreciation of the unique upbringing I had.
After the Met we often had some New York City fun and then went to our weekend retreat, the Twin Towers. My father worked overnights in the south building (the one that had the antennae) and because he was primarily a single dad for so long, we would hide out and sleep there every Friday night. We drank the best hot chocolate and experienced our city from one of the highest possible points. I would stand in those ominous windows and look down at the world below me...it was here that I became deeply in touch with the spiritual path I continued on from such a young age.
My dad is still one of the people I confide in the most. There is no taboo topic, no situation I ever feel uncomfortable approaching. He is in his words, "my support network" and for years I never thought I would feel so deeply connected this way.
My father and I never spoke to each other like a typical father-daughter. We debate art, politics, religion--you name it. We shed tears over a beautiful music score. We listen deeply to the inner paths we followed to reach the present moment. We laugh over silly puns, made-up songs, and many other Hermus-isms that connect us with our ancestral sense of ridiculous humor. We are honest to a fault at times....but at this point in my life... I wouldn't have it any other way.
I look on my father as a soul mate. This awareness came to me at around the age of 8 or 9. I always knew our connection was one beyond this realm. I always felt I knew my father before he was my father. In ways, I have watched him grow as he has watched me grow. I can look upon my father and tell him I am proud of him without feeling condescending.
My dad is my cheerleader. He is one of my best friends. He is one of my deepest inspirations because he is a man who feels deeply, thinks deeply, and always reflects on the world around him. He taught me to be independent, to be true to myself, to always grow and reflect, to strive for my dreams relentlessly. He taught me discernment and how to get over heartache. He was honest with me, even when it hurt me. I know my father will never say something because I want to hear it. He sees me for who I am...not just as his daughter, but as a person and a soul. And he has endless faith in me that I can sense no matter where we are.
Our unique relationship is worthy of an entire volume of stories and reflections. As I even write this I am crying because of the overwhelming sense of gratitude and appreciation I have for my life and family. My experiences have been far from ordinary or easy, but they have been beautiful nonetheless.
So, to all of you out there, I hope for a moment you can see the man behind your father and appreciate him as a conduit of your life.
And for my dad, I love you and wish I could find even deeper ways to express my endless appreciation for the life you have given me and lived alongside me.