"Lenka, you need to get some chutzpah."
chutz·pah ˈhu̇t-spə ˈḵu̇t- -(ˌ)spä
variants or less commonly chutzpa or hutzpah or hutzpa
: supreme self-confidence : NERVE, GALL
It took a lot of chutzpah to stand up to him the way she did. - (Merriam-Webster)
I believe there are limits to what we as humans can tolerate when it comes to our emotions. I believe this to be true because I don’t think I’ll ever be able to encapsulate what it means to me that I lost my father when I was in my early 20s. What it really means that I have only the stories I tell and no more.
However, I have found that in telling them I feel closer to him. It’s hard to determine what impact he had on me when I look at our relationship as a whole, but when I focus on the stories, I can find more answers. His methods of parenting me always consisted of coaching me through life lessons, or math problems, not solving them for me. In doing this he always offered tools in the way of information and sources.
One of the last chronological stories I can ever tell about my father comes from when I was just 21 years old. I had met the person that would become my husband and father to our children just a year before this story took place. We had met, fallen in love, and moved to Seattle. Naturally ;)
On one of our frequent visits home (bay area) we arrived in time for Family Friday Pizza Night. I just made up this title, but it is what happened in my partner’s family, every Friday night, at the time. So there we were, sitting on top of each other in the waiting area of the restaurant, waiting to be seated. I was smooched between a wall and Nanny. Nanny would be my grandmother-in-law one day.
I suspected she didn’t like me, but I kept an open mind. Sitting there that evening, practically on her lap, made me feel, well, quite vulnerable. And then she does it. She turns and looks at me and says, “So, I hear Jared is supporting you?” She was referring to finances. She was correct. And I was unprepared.
Later during our stay I went to visit my father. He always knew when something was bothering me, and he always seemed to have an antidote or two to throw my way. I told him what happened and why it bothered me. His immediate response to me:
Lenka, you need to get some chutzpah. Next time she says that to you, you say, ‘yes Nanny, that’s right, he is. We support each other.’
I miss my father because of this story. No matter what I shared with him, we always started with ME, because I was telling him my problem, therefore I would be the only one who could solve it. I don’t know how he knew that, but he did. And he parented me just like that. And I am forever grateful to him for it.