baked oats green chile chicken enchiladas chow mein bakery-style butter cookies

copyright jennifer yu © 2004-2023 all rights reserved: no photos or content may be reproduced without prior written consent

the acorn and the tree

Usually when I get home to find the light on the answering machine blinking, I’m filled with dread. Who called? What new phone spam is this? But on occasion, after hitting the PLAY MESSAGES button, I’ll hear:

Hey! You dodo! This is your Baba!

Because terms of endearment shouted are always louder and happier. I also love how Dad identifies himself on the answering machine. He will then proceed to leave a hilarious message in which the Dad side wants to be conversational and yet the Professional side wants to be succinct and to the point. A single voicemail illustrates that internal struggle, but the entertainment value is through the roof.

I will get to see my parents in less than a week and I can already play out what Dad will be like. First, he’ll look at me and half-grin half-laugh as he reaches out to give me a hug. He’s going to suggest we get together and cook a nice meal with a GOOD bottle (or two) of wine. Dad will enthusiastically inquire about Crested Butte and the fishing there. He will ask where Kaweah is and when he can see her. Then he’ll start discussing the plan for lunch.

Dad and I are very different people, and yet we share many personality traits and mannerisms. The obvious ones I’ve known about for decades, but Jeremy will observe similarities that can make me cringe, beam, or both.

me and dad (1994)

You know that old saying that you become your parents? I don’t mind that so much anymore. As I get older, I think I understand where they are coming from a little better. At the same time, I wonder if they ponder the things that are looming larger in my mind as I age – things like mortality, life decisions, loved ones, responsibilities, relationships. Of course they do.

Ever since I was little, I have memories of my Dad giving me a sideways squeeze-hug and shouting (always with the shouting), “You dodo, do you know that Baba loves you?!” And I would answer, “yeeeeeeees” while rolling my eyes and waving him off so I could concentrate on my Saturday morning cartoons. Now when I’m with my parents, I sometimes find myself watching Dad while he’s taking off his trifocals to read a wine label 5 millimeters from his nose and wanting to run up and hug him and yell, “Do you know that I love you?!” I guess it goes both ways.

Dad and I (and when she was alive, Kris) have had a running joke – that we kids are the acorn, and he is the tree. Whenever I do something clever or stupid that my Dad would have also done, he points to me with a big grin on his face and says, “Acorn.”

And I kinda love that.

happy father’s day, daddy – i hope you catch lots of big fish

14 nibbles at “the acorn and the tree”

  1. Ellen says:

    How much do I love this post? SO SO MUCH. Thanks Jen!

  2. Kristin says:


  3. Margaret Hagerty says:

    I lived for many years in Boulder, then to New Mexico and now have been living in Ashland Oregon.
    I worked at UC in the Biovisuals department of MCDB, and share your interest in science and excellent photography. I once successfully developed film from a canister that had been chewed by a polar bear!!
    I adore your blog and have been following it for years.
    This is a beautiful post for father’s day as are all your posts about your family, and food, and photography.
    Congrats on your new home. I offer miss the Colorado high country, and am always homesick for the NM mesas, so your photos bring me joy.
    Thank you for all your work

  4. ARC says:

    That is so cute. Love this.

  5. debbie says:

    Very nice post. As we get older I guess we realize I parents won’t be here forever. I am already older really,….my parents are 76 and my dad just turned 84. Years ago my husband had videotaped me as I was walking toward the camera. Lo and behold I walked just like my dad!!! I couldn’t get over it. The exact same walk…..

  6. Mia says:

    I love this so very much. I wish I had that sort of relationship with my dad, and now I really want to go fishing.

  7. farmerpam says:

    Nice. Made me smile and think of my dad.

  8. marlene says:

    Such a wonderful relationship that you have with your family and with your dad!!!!
    I love reading posts about you and your family!!!!

  9. honky mama says:

    this makes me cry and cry and cry.
    you tell your dad you love him… as much as you can. (I bet you do)…. i lost my dad just over 3 years ago – the pain is still there every day.
    The Lord fills the Hole because He took him away but there are days when i wish i could have my dad leave a muddley frustrating voice mail message or ring and yell because phones make him nervous and he yells when nervous…. or that we could discover together that i’m his acorn.

    You enjoy. Family is the greatest gift.

  10. honky mama says:

    …me again! :) i really love your blog. You are a hard worker and a great citizen! :)
    you make me laugh a lot!

  11. Pey-Lih says:

    Zen da hen hao! That’s so awesome your dad shows you affection and tells you how much he loves you. My father went through heart surgery this past year and I flew home to be with my family. Although everything turned out well, sadly, I have to say that I hugged my father for the first time as an adult. I come from an asian family that doesn’t show or outwardly express love and affection. I think this has to be changed, and I wish it didn’t take an illness to learn this lesson. Happy Father’s Day to everyone!

  12. jill says:

    THAT was a loving post! Now, how many rod holders does one need on the front of the truck????

  13. Louise says:

    Touching. Now tell Baba (and your Mom) you love them!

  14. jenyu says:

    Thanks everyone. It’s not always an easy relationship, but it can be quite gratifying :) Parents are a special group of people <3

leave a reply