DAY 1: Bitter Nostalgia
I practically don’t need him. And that’s a bad thing for me to say, I know. I know. Judge me, I’m okay with that. Most likely, when he dies, I’ll regret it all; my attitude, my uncaring disposition, the brush offs. But in this moment, in the now, I am over it. I don’t really need him and he missed that point when I did need him.
Perspective: my father was always too busy saving everyone else, so he never had time for me. Save the souls of sinners, ignore your family, and say you’re doing the right thing.
My father, was a minister. A minister, rejoicing in persecution and the acknowledgement of salvation. One who would ignore my need for a father figure at the time of my life when he necessary. My memories of my father are of him walking out the door again and again.
Yes, I know, at least I had one, right? What is she bitching about? She had a dad in her life, of course she’d bitch about that.
I have no words and no justification. So you win, little critical voice in my head, you win.
As I get older, it’s like these little things in the past are resurrected with significance and impact to me now. Like the emotions I smothered are expanding and exploding with vehemence and violence like purging a time capsule.
It is. It just is.
I don’t need my father right now, and now he has the time for me. Wants to interrupt my life and pretend the years haven’t gone by. But it’s just too late.
The worst is remembering pour love out into what I thought was a basin but turned out to be a sieve. Pointless.
DAY 15: Apples fall from Trees
I called my father. Not on purpose, but he picked up the phone, We proceeded to have an actual conversation for the first time in a while.
We talked about cars. His project focused on rebuilding a car with a bad motor, he’d swapped in 2 but each seemed to have the same problem. I asked questions about the inner makings of the car and how it runs, where the engine comes in, what everything does. I shared my dream of buying a car in pieces and putting it together myself, impractical I know, but still a way for me to understand everything inside and not just enjoy driving the outside.
And for a moment I was 8 years old again, crouching beneath the belly of the family car, handing my father wrenches and tools and holding the light just so… I remember crouching there in the cool of the early morning, wearing a lumberjack yellow plaid shirt made of soft fleece, with a neon green hat on my head and sniffling nose, holding the lantern with chilled fingers. Asking a thousand questions about how cars work, and what the engine sound meant, and why loud mufflers was a bad thing.
I miss those days. Dad was home more, or maybe it’s my selective memory of the past. I remember thinking that I liked Dad more than Mom, and that I wanted to do everything he did. I wanted to learn how to wire electricity, how to ticker with electric currents and connect solar panels to batteries to run outlets in the house. I wanted to learn how to fix a roof, and change a tire, and tune up cars. I wanted to drive fast down the highway too.
Maybe I also wanted to drive away from home for awhile and not come back for a month or two.
Maybe that’s why I keep trying to leave my family in the dust and get as far away as possible.
I am my father’s child.
DAY 17: Reality of the Moment
“I hate him, I hate Dad.”
“You don’t hate him, you both are exactly alike. You are just like him.”
“No! I’m NOTHING like him!!”
I remember arguing with mom in the kitchen 8 years ago. I was feral, angry, and had no explanation for any of my tempers. And nearly all of my rage was towards my father. Mom thought that we should kiss and make up, I wanted my first grudge to last much longer than that. I hadn’t spoken to him in 1 year, quite an achievement when I lived in the same house with him. Despite my mother’s proddings, threats, and tantrums, I hadn’t said one word to him.
It took years before I spoke to him again. Time and distance helped, I moved 6 hours away, I didn’t go back unless I wanted to- and that more for my sibling’s sake than for my parents. My sibling took over where I left off, replacing me as my father’s favorite child. They bonded, now that I was out of the way, and I found it inherently absurd that it bothered me. I wasn’t his child anymore, that’s what I wanted, wasn’t it?
Over time, I let the grudge go. After deep examination of my life, I decided that I didn’t want that negativity tainting my time and energy. So I cut it loose. Rage transitions into indifference.
Today, I don’t hate my father. The obligation is that I love him. But he’s just another person to me. Maybe we’ll reconnect and be friends again. I’m not holding my breath either way.
I don’t hate my father, but I practically don’t need him much, anymore.
But if I do, maybe this time, he’ll be there.