So in honor of Father’s Day, I wrote out this nice, sentimental, gush-worthy post about a very special childhood memory of mine relating to my dad. I let it stew as a draft for a nice day and a half and then read it again in the morning. Ugh, apparently posts can go bad too. Guess I should’ve refrigerated it instead. But I think it was meant to happen because it didn’t really feel right to get all mushy-gushy about my dad. He doesn’t roll that way and come to think of it, neither do I. So instead, I’ve decided to share the following timeline with you all:
Dad and Me: A History
- BCE (aka Before Cherry-slushie Episode): During this prehistoric era, I was a tiny toddler who was deathly afraid of the ferociously stern parent-a-saurus who was also my dad. Scholars (aka the rest of my family) are still baffled as to why I would be so afraid of my dad for no apparent reason and they can only conclude that it might have been because he wasn’t home much when I was young, thus not allowing for the natural parent-child bond to flourish. Parent-a-saurus Dad was also known to smile very little and laugh even less, thus contributing to his overall fear-inducing factor. It was not a happy time.
- CE (Cherry-slushie Episode): A highly influential life experience of mine that opened my eyes for the first time. (Not that they were closed during the entire BCE era. That would be ludicrous.) This moment involved an incident in which I, still being deathly afraid of my dad, still rather a parent-a-saurus, attempted to use my nonexistent childish wiles to hint at my desire for a cherry slushie one day at the zoo. My dad didn’t say anything and I was disappointed but unsurprised. We all sat down to eat lunch, I took a sip from my cup, and I tasted……. cherry slushie. It was like a lightbulb flicked on in my head. My dad really DOES listen and care about me! It doesn’t sound like much, but it meant everything to me. Even now, almost 20 years later, I still remember it vividly. No one knew, but it was the bestest, most perfect day ever.
- All’s Quiet on the Father-Daughter Front: After the Cherry-Slushie Episode, Parent-a-Saurus Dad gradually died out and with it, some of my fear. Contrary to expectations however, we did not become best of friends. Instead, I spent a lot of time waiting and watching. Always watching. I couldn’t seem to accurately tell when he’d morph from Stern As A Rock Dad to Big Softie Dad to Deadpan Humor Dad to Silent Brooding Dad to Sleepy Dad. And I’m sure he wasn’t sure whether I was ready to be best of friends or if I was still going to avoid him, so we warily waited and watched each other. It was a relatively quiet, slightly strained time.
- Awkward Times at University High: During this era, I was growing into my semi-rebellious teenage years and although an outright rebellion never took place, I had a tendency to brood in my room and often smoldered in silent indignation about how NO ONE in the family understood me. They didn’t know how HARD my life was. They didn’t know how AWKWARD they made me feel. This was also around the time my dad started flying off to other places for business and we didn’t see him quite as often. Well, they say absence makes the heart grow fonder. In my case though, I merely felt uncertain. The fear wasn’t very prominent anymore but we still seemed to have little to say to each other. He’d ask about my life, I’d say it was fine, and there we were. Back in silence. It was……… an awkward time. (I know. I’m blowing you away with how witty I am right now.)
- A Tale of Two Explorations: By the time I hit my high school graduation, I figured my relationship with my dad was pretty set. The fear factor was at an all-time low, the awkwardness had receded, and I was ready to head to college, all flags flying. (Flags of what? Good question. I have no clue. It just sounded victorious to me so I wrote it.) But after two weeks of intimidating classes, an obnoxiously rude roommate, and no close friends to speak of, I was ready to admit defeat and lie in bed forever. I called home one day and was surprised to hear my dad answer it since I hadn’t expected him to be home. We had a nice ten-minute conversation and I hung up somehow feeling better. As college progressed, I grew up a little, became more sure of myself, and learned to appreciate my parents way more than I ever had. My dad in turn, relaxed a bit, laughed more, and basically mellowed out. We were, more or less, finally on the same page after almost 20 years of fear, frustrations, and misunderstandings. It was a time of growth and understanding.
- Present-day: So where does this leave us now? Well, I no longer am afraid to say anything to my dad and I routinely laugh at him in front of his face. He still doesn’t say that much on his own but with some prodding, we can have very long conversations about work, business, people, and occasionally really random things. I’ve found that I’ve inherited his detail-oriented, perfectionist tendencies and dry sense of humor. I may have also inherited his aura of intimidation, according to many of my friends, though it’s not like we really try to be intimidating. All in all, it’s a very good time right now.
*Cue Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World*
Happy Father’s Day, Dad! See you in a week!