Monday, June 21, 2010

The Daley O'Daly Confusion: A Late Father's Day Essay

Once when I feeling a bit smart-ass-ish, I told an audience at 5th Friday (a secular open-mic thingy that my dad and some friends started in Portland, OR) that I was KaRyn and I was part of the Daley/O'Daly Confusion. It got a good laugh and the name for our family has stuck, showing up on blogs and facebook pages as a way to make light of something kind of funny/ strange that has happened to our family.

You see, a few years ago, my dad legally changed his last name.

But it's not like he changed it from Daley to Brown. He changed it back to the original O'Daly which you'll please notice is only two letters and an apostrophe different from the old (new) name. Originally, my Mom would have none of it and retained the old (new) last name. When they went to church, she was Sister Daley and her husband was Brother O'Daly. Are you confused yet? Eventually, my youngest brother and mom (tired of explaining it to the masses) followed suit and changed their last name to the new (old) last name. We now effectively have 3 O'Daly's and 13 Daleys in my immediate family.

I tell you all of this as a precursor to something kind of awesome. Do you want to know WHY my old man changed his last name? Well, I think it is connected to the reason my Dad, who is a very talented musician is NOT a rockstar today. Wait for it...wait for it...I promise it's going to make sense in a minute:

So, as legend has it, Pop was poised for rockstardom. He had the hair. He had the platform shoes. He had the guitar face and hip gyrations. He also had 5 kids. It's a little bit hard to pursue a dream that requires road trips, late nights and imminent poverty when you've got a wife and lots of cereal eaters at home. And so, a sacrafice was born. I don't know all the mechanics of my parents early years and what went into his decisions but knowing my dad, there had to have been an element of goodness and prayer involved. That doesn't mean he let it go effortlessly...I mean, there were all those hours of amplified guitar riffs in our faces while we tried to watch KIDS Incorporated and more than a few nights when we thought he loved his guitar more than us. But did he really? Obviously not. There are plenty of Lifetime movies that teach us about children and families torn apart by the selfish pursuits of fame. Like Honey I Shrunk The Kids...oh wait.... that wasn't fame, that was ridiculously impossible science...but whatever, you get it. My family, though imperfect, has remained intact long enough to confuse the world.

And so you see, when it comes down to it , my dad is a man who has always listened when the Lord directs. once upon a time, he felt prompted to reconnect to his ancestral roots and he knew that it meant changing his name. Maybe there were more than a few moments where he wondered, like Saul of the bible or Prince of The Revolution, "am I crazy for doing this whole name change thing?". I don't expect you to understand it. I don't fully understand it. Plenty of really good people don't understand it. And I suspect that sometimes Michael O'Daly doesn't understand it either. But he did it. He paid someone 110 bucks to become Michael O'Daly (which BTW is the name of my great great great grandfather who came to the United States from Ireland and then changed his own name to Daley to fit in) And we see that this man who raised me to understand and value perserverance and to trust in revelation and take faithful leaps into the unknown leads by example.

My dad is a smart man. He's well educated and thoughtful (even that thoughtful is displayed in expletories directed at liberal democrats on the television). You can call him quirky if you want but the truth is that my dad does things that might seem strange or non-sensical and he does them because he believes in a little something called God and revelation. He listens and follows even if it requires some explanation on occassion. He's taught me well and I'm proud to be one of the products of his dutiful, creative life.

Thanks, Dad. I love you.

1 comment:

uteowl said...

Awwww Shucks! Thank you.