This is not a thing that makes me go “hmmm” post. Today I’m giving tribute to my dad. He turned sixty-five today, and we spent a large part of it together…at the hospital, while he got X-rays, and a CT scan on both knees. He needed a consult with an orthopedic surgeon to determine whether or not all his years of playing hockey, and abusing his body would come to an end with a double knee replacement. It wasn’t the best way, or place to spend a birthday, but we managed to have a good time, and some laughs regardless. After the appointment, I treated him to Italian for a birthday lunch; it was lovely.
My dad and I have a very colorful, difficult, history. He came from a rough background, a big broken family. His dad had thirteen children in total. A couple of them, including my father, having the same name as their dad, my grandfather, whom I never met. My father didn’t have much time with his dad because he died when my dad was twelve. From there, my father became a little bit of a hippy hooligan, cute as hell, but bad. My dad’s, dad wasn’t very kind, sober, or loyal. Needless to say, even though my father didn’t live with him for that many years, the short time they did spend together unfortunately rubbed off on him; causing him to be the sort of young boy you wouldn’t want your daughter to bring home. But remember what I said about him being cute? Well he was such a good looking teenager, that I believe it’s what got him in the sort of trouble, like getting my mother pregnant at sixteen, then again at eighteen in the first place. My parents were YOUNG. Needless to say, kids having kids isn’t the ideal scenario for building a strong family platform, especially when he didn’t come from one of his own. They both did their best, for many years, back and forth, fighting to keep our family intact. In the end, it wasn’t meant to be, and when I turned thirteen, my dad moved out, and in with the woman he has now been married to, for thirty years. Thirty years today in fact. You see, sometimes we’re just with our wrong person. Obviously my parent’s paths were meant to cross, and thank God they did or who would I be?? But they weren’t meant to grow old together, like at all. My mother is also remarried, and her husband has way more in common with her, and similar interests, and honestly he just suits her much better. Life has worked out, both of my parents are much better off not together, then they ever were together, and now, they are great friends.
My dad and I also had to fight hard for our relationship. We didn’t naturally get along. My dad was a jock, and a musician. I was a ballerina, and enjoyed playing with dolls, and Barbie’s. We didn’t have anything in common, so it wasn’t uncommon that we were not that close. Then when the time came where maybe we could find some common ground, some matters in life to relate to, he moved out. With that came a whole second family. My dad was having his second family, when I was beginning my first. It’s not how I would have written my childhood if I had been given the opportunity. I don’t believe any kid wants to see their parents break up, no matter how bad the relationship, or how awful life is with them together.
I spent so much time being angry at him for not being the person I needed him to be. We missed out on a lot of years together. But now, all this time later, all the miles of upset, disappointment, and anger so far behind us, I have to say that my father has been the greatest, in the flesh, role model of change that I’ve ever seen. When I was younger I could not have imagined having a relationship with my father, never mind a close one. One healthy enough that I could have him come visit me in California, and live under my roof with me. I didn’t think I knew him well enough for that. But you know what? It turns out I do know my dad well enough to “live with him” again. It was a huge success, and joy to have him come and stay at my place with me. To hang out all day, every day, for a week straight. To laugh. To share. To have the opportunity to get to know one another as adults. To build a new relationship, one of openness, forgiveness, and love. I’m just thankful that the universe gave us both the desire, and the time on this earth to get to a place where we could start anew.
It has restored my faith in the knowing, that if somebody really wants to change, and really wants to have a relationship with you, it is never too late for that to happen. Because, let’s be honest with one another; we’re all assholes. The trick in all relationships is to always be ready to say you’re sorry, and to love somebody enough to forgive their asshole behavior, and for them to forgive yours.
Happy Birthday Dad, I love you, may we have many more years together, and way more California adventures together.
xoxo your Daughter