A Day for Dad

I was forced to finish this lovely glass of merlot;

the wee fruit flies would simply not cease their kamikaze ways.

And when then do manage to fall in, I can’t stand seeing them in that state,

so I gently remove them and blow on them until they dry off enough to fly away…

This post was started earlier in the week (and grew to be much more than I originally intended). I meant to have it finished and posted shortly after Father’s Day. Oh well. Good intentions unrealized. I would like to say that I have not posted this (or anything else) with expediency because I am overwhelmingly busy in my non-blog life.

Sadly no. In fact, there are a couple of house-things that are receiving non-typical treatment from me. I have been procrastinating. SHAME!

Mind you, I did pop into my “artsy” email on Monday only to discover two new customers in need of orders for this Saturday – eep eep – desperately wondering if I would be able to help them out. Of course. Hubby only had a handful of hours this week so any economic influx is welcomed. Thankfully, it is nothing too complicated. Some decorated sugar cookies to resemble Cookie Monster and a Monster High inspired cake. Shoot. What is Monster High?

I apologize for its length should you be here for a quick read.

Dear Old Dad

My folks came by on Father’s Day. Big Joe had to work, even though he requested it off (Happy Father’s Day to him). Oh, I neglected to mention that hubby-dear is also the only male in the department he works in, and thus, the only father…grrr…

This was only the second Dad’s Day I had spent with my father since 2005, a memorable day as he decided to ask me if I was making the payments on my credit card (side note: I have never missed or been late on any obligatory payment ever and at that time I was a full-blown adult) in the middle of opening my gift to him. And, in front of my entire family. Thanks. Following Father’s Day that year came the disconnect that caused me to place our relationship on hold. Hiatus. Whatever. It was a slow process. Taking the better of the rest of that year. Then it fell apart. Slipped away into the nothingness.

My father has four children: myself, the bio-brothers and my half-brother. Honestly, there is no difference between them. To me. They are The Three Brothers. I only included that minor detail for integrity’s sake. Just in case anyone is keeping track of the details. I am the only girl. And I am the first-born. Am I Daddy’s Little Girl? Some would say yes. Some would say no. I fear I may be his greatest disappointment.

We used to be close. Me and Dad. I liked to go to his office, tag along on client visits. I loved that he and I were always the first ones up, sneaking off on an early morning adventure to the hardware store. I love my father dearly. More than he will ever know or realize. The time I spent estranged (for lack of a better term) from my parents was very hard on me. More difficult than anyone close to that situation will ever know. Except my husband. He gallantly and stoically stood by my side.

Simple Is Complicated

My father is simple. And complicated. Perhaps, he is simply complicated?

One thing is for sure, people are often not sure what to make of Dad. He is very intelligent yet brash and occasionally offensive. Though neither offense committed intentionally. My father has a wonderfully kind heart which is often masked by the inappropriate things he says. He is an amazing storyteller. A great conversationalist. Stellar taste in music (I credit him largely for my own tastes in tunes). He is well read and witty with a great sense of humour. He is inventive, a good-spirit, fun and creative (for example, logs – on a two week solo-parenting trip to PEI my father discovered our fridge only contained condiments, ground beef and on the counter hot dog buns and so, with three kids under 7 years of age, at dinner time in an unfamiliar location, the ground beef was formed into a sausage-like shape and logs were born!). He is loving and helpful in his own way. As we all are. My father is a religious man and many other things too.

Most of us come to realize that we do not always see eye to eye with our parents. I am sure all of us do in our youth. In the very least.

My father and I have not always seen eye to eye. In fact, I would hazard to guess that if you were to list every view, every opinion the number of our differences would be greater than our similarities. Even though everyone always says you are so your father’s daughter. When I was younger I thought his ultra-conservative views offensive and wrong. Suffocating and critical. We would argue. Sometimes about politics. Sometimes the state of the world. Sometimes because that’s apparently what teenagers and parents do? Grown, and hopefully more mature, I now know them to be personal, conservative and, perhaps, a tad out-dated.

Daddy’s Girl

I never really rebelled. Never threw a party, though there was plenty of opportunity to. At least in the sense that my folks were absent. Perhaps not when one thinks of a potential guest list. I always helped out around the house. Helped with my brothers. Babysitting and eventually driving them to early morning hockey practices or 10 pm soccer games. Worked full-time hours in high school, got straight-As, played on sports teams (even earned two MVP trophies in one year!), volunteered, was Prime Minister of the Student’s Council and in grade 12 I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (here’s a needle and some insulin, take it or die), and simply carried on, never stopping or even pausing for a moment to process it all.

But I have always felt it was never enough. Left with a lingering feeling that I should have somehow been more. Better. Different than I was. And even though he may say that isn’t true I can see it in his sad eyes.

My father has the saddest eyes. I do not know what has filled them or how they came to be so full of sadness.

When I was in high school he told me not to wear make-up. For a while I was not allowed to. But we all come to an age and our parents let go a bit. Ease up on the reins. So to speak. And when my folks did both of them advised me not to wear make-up. So I never really did, but not because I thought I was too pretty or didn’t need it. Because that just isn’t me and I cannot find the time or want for it. Sorry I digress. My father does not like people who alter their appearance. He has never said so, but I know so. He hated my nose ring (I adored it and would love to have it back; I have often thought about having it re-pierced) and other odd ear piercings (all of which I removed on a whim some years back, I have been rocking the single hole for well over a decade now). He really hated my (first) tattoo; that little Japanese kanji symbol, the size of a toonie ($2 Canadian coin), on the inside of my left ankle bugged the hell out of him.

When we reconnected I am sure he was not thrilled with all those I have added. Speaking of tattoos, I was over the moon when my girlfriend called me and said she had time to finish my sleeve this week; we skipped town on Tuesday afternoon and I had two wild roses added to my beautiful collage of flowers, birds and insects! My poor dad. I can vaguely picture (more like re-imagine) his reaction to that one tiny splash of ink. Now. Oh my goodness. I have a full back piece, my neck, half my one leg, part of my chest and now my whole entire right arm tattooed. As I digress (again, sorry!), I am reminded that he was recently pretty cool about it all (when we had our tub/shower replaced I told him we couldn’t shower for a full 24 hours he asked if it was because of my tattoos! That’s a big step, trust me.).

I love my dad. He is my Daddy. And I really don’t give a shit what has happened, what he has said and done, what I have said and done, I would do (almost) anything for that man. I love him dearly.

Grandma had a frog.

I look like my father’s mother. My paternal grandmother. And my dad. Everyone says so.

My father was very close to his mom. She called him her little froggy. She was magical to him. You can tell. She was magical to me. And I have her artistic ways. Her free-spirit and cheeky outlook. I have her crazy. Because everyone has said, in their own polite way, that my Grandma Margaret was nuts. So be it. I’ll take it. If that’s crazy then I’m crazy. One of my favourite stories about her happened when I was a toddler. She was supposed to come and watch me. She was almost late. My grandmother always looked incredible. I adored her. And she pulled in the driveway in her (probably) Cadillac. With a police car behind her. She had driven half the distance with the cops behind her. Pulls in to the driveway like it ain’t no thang but a chicken wang. Police Officer dazed and confused says, ma’am did you not see me behind you? With the lights and the siren? To which dear grandmamma replies, of course I did, but would you be late to come and look after that sweet face?

Brilliant. She was amazing. I am delighted to be likened to her. Honoured. Proud. Blushing…

My grandmother died in September. A while back. Dad’s birthday is in September (as was my paternal grandfather’s and as is my youngest brother’s). He was never the same after my grandmother passed. In my opinion. Those sad eyes became even sadder.

Father’s Day 2014

My folks came by for a BBQ. We have all been busy and, even though they are but 20 minutes down the highway, we hadn’t seen each other in a while. They had yet to see the new tub/shower insert and unfinished bathroom (a victim of my neglect) and all the work in the backyard. I made a dinner tailored to both my father and my husband. The wee one was over the moon excited to see them. He adores his grandparents. Both the hubby and I take great comfort from that.

We had a lovely visit. Dinner was delicious. Everyone was having a lovely visit. We opted to eat indoors as our very shady backyard proved to be too cool. My father and I had a couple of moments alone together as he sat in the parlour and I set the table in the dining room. I had toiled for several hours – maybe days – over whether or not I was going to ask him if my brothers called or texted. And I went for it. Did you hear from the boys? Inside I am sure I cringed so tightly that I was coiled, but outside I was composed. No. Brother Two called Friday to inform me a card would be late and that Brother Three was having phone troubles. But nothing today. I was gutted. Oh. I’m really sorry Dad. And there was a pause. Brief. Almost nonexistent. Well. They are doing what you did. So…

Inside of me, somewhere I am sure there was a very loud what the fuck? I am sure of it because I don’t remember what I actually said. Though I know it wasn’t that.

Those words bothered me. Because while I can understand why my father would say such a thing (as a guest in my house) I was quite perturbed by it. My brothers have flittered about dangling their relationship with my parents like a carrot before a rabbit ever since I reconnected with my folks. They have been on both speaking and non-speaking terms. Often on a whim. I never know if they are talking or not talking to each other. Much different than when I cut ties with my folks. My parents had a good relationship with my brothers. My relationship (past, present or future) with my folks is independent of them. None of their business. Therefore my relationship should in no way effect the one they share with my parents. Theoretically. Not in reality.

Anyways. When I stopped communicating with my parents in 2005 it was after much turmoil and stress. I reached a point where I could no longer physically deal with the negativity of the situation. The emails. The phone calls. I severed that tie for the benefit of my health. At that time I was very sick. Unable to tolerate the fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Too many hospital visits. Miscarriages. I would have liked to have worked things out. I would have preferred not to be put on pills that made me afraid to leave my house. But that isn’t what happened. And so became my journey to now.

And I had my dad here on Father’s Day. With my family. At my house.

And it was a perfect day.

3 thoughts on “A Day for Dad

  1. I loved this. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and struggles with family. Baby steps toward reunion. I’m glad you had a good Father’s Day.

    Your dad sounds a lot like someone I know. Brilliant, engaging, and he says THE most INAPPROPRIATE things… like the credit card payment.

    The person I know who behaves like this: I almost wonder if there isn’t some sort of impulse disorder, an Asperger’s like tic that he just cannot over-ride.

    But yeah, my initial response if I were on the receiving end of the credit card comment would be, “WTF?!”

    Your grandma Margaret sounds like a treat. I’m sorry she’s gone… for you and for your Dad.

    PS I also like what you did for those fruit flies. 😉

    • Ha ha – thank you Maggie.

      I love my dad. And I must say, since we reconnected just over a year ago, those snarky remarks are much fewer.

      Grandma Margaret was a treat! She left much sooner than any of us wanted. But exactly when she was meant to. She even warned me a few weeks earlier, ‘Becky, I’m getting too old for all of this. It is just too much. I might be ready to go.’ We were at her house so I knew she wasn’t suggesting we abandon our current location. And when the phone rang in the middle of the night, two days after Brother Three’s birthday, I knew what had happened before Dad told me.

      A note on fruit flies and other wildlife: I am respectful of their domain. I adore nature. But am sometimes less kind about who and what I allow in my dwelling. Outside though is shared space. And I am just grateful for the chance to be a part of it. 🙂

  2. Pingback: The Piano | A Soul is a Resilient Thing

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