I think it finally hit me today: My dad is getting old.
Now to most people this would start pulling at their heart strings a little, but to me, it is a heart wrenching feeling full of regret and uncertainty. No, I did not have the typical “daddy” issues that most girls end up going to therapy over (I should be in therapy but for many other reasons).
My father and I sort of just had a falling out, except it was me that was doing all the falling out. He had done little things to bother me, as happens with every single child of every single parent. I do have to say, though, that it always did bother me how much he valued money and “saved” while living sparsely. Now, I never went without, but him sending me through a Catholic school was supposed to make up for the fact that I never had an allowance or was allotted any extra chore money, although I did my fair share of chores (I was an only child on his side). He never let me forget that and would always bring it up whenever he could. Off topic, but that is something that will always irk me. My values on money and family are completely opposite. But I cannot hold that against him – everyone has their own set of values and beliefs especially on money.
Back on track — My parents separated when I was younger, and I went through the normal transition of loving each parent “more” than the other and wanting to stay at one house for weeks on end. My parents ended their relationship amicably and are still friends to this day – I honestly value that about both of them. They really looked at the overview of creating a human together and realizing they needed to be a united front for that child, whether they were together or not. And trust me, they were. When I was 16/17 getting into lots of teenager angst and trouble and rebellion, my parents were there. Both of them. I thought having two separate parents in two different houses, I would be able to get away with so much more. I was unquestionably wrong.
Anyways, around the age of 18, I just….didn’t want to talk to my dad. We had problems through my early teen years, but it suddenly hit when I went out into the real world that I just wasn’t worried with spending more time with him. For some reason, it just struck me that I’ve been holding on to this…resentment and distance, while there is no real reason why. I have faced all my demons with any one that has hurt me, I have let it all go. With him, for some reason it just stayed. He tried to call every Sunday and would visit as often as possible – I just wouldn’t answer.
I am not sure if it is all the medical issues I am facing right now, or the fact that I have a two-year-old daughter that is starting to take in the world in such a true, raw way and I want him to be a part of it. Everything hit me today as he was sitting in my living room: my dad is getting old. He is walking like an older man. He is getting out of his chair a little more slowly. Today, he was talking to my daughter, and my fiancé and I were trying to tell her that he was okay (he is a big, burly man with a large beard) and we told her “That’s momma’s daddy”, and he just looked at her and said, “That’s my little girl”. So cliché, right? But it really hit me. That is my dad. Through whatever issues may arise, through the 24 years I’ve been alive, that is and always will be my dad. Why am I still holding onto this? Why do I put him through this? Yet, he’s still there. He still tries.
So, from today forward, I am moving onward to correct the damage and hurt I have caused. I will answer every phone call on Sunday afternoon. I will visit more often and let me daughter become more acquainted with her crazy, goofy grandpa. I will try my best to show my dad that I am still his daughter and my love for him will always be something that is boundless. I just hope it will be enough.