I’m almost fifty years old. I came to live with my father when I was thirteen. By that point I was damaged, angry, rebellious and at the beginnings of my drugging a drinking career. I’m not sure my dad saw these things, even if he had, it didn’t seem to matter. I am his son. It took me a long time to understand what that meant. It didn’t take my dad very long to understand what it meant to be a father. And a good one at that.
Circumstances kept us apart for eleven of my first thirteen years and circumstances brought us together again. I can’t begin to express how grateful I am. It was, however, bittersweet. That is a post for another day. Someone remind me to share that story.
Despite my crazy making ways, my dad still loved me. He may not say it very often, but I don’t need to hear it. I can tell. I can feel it, even across the distance of nearly 4,000 kms. I just know.
As I said, he took me in and loved me anyway. Him and his wife, Wendy did for me what nobody else could. They stuck with me until I learned to stick with myself. He loved me in spite of my terrible behaviour, he loved me when I thought I was unlovable. He loved me until I could love myself. What a gift my dad is.
I will call my dad today, like I do almost every Sunday. We will talk about the weather, politics, religion and I may come up with what I think is a witty comment and he will give me his favourite dad-ism; “Give your head a shake!”.
My dad may not always get me and I may not always get him. We may have differing views on politics and spirituality and we may not like the same teams but if pitted against a common foe, god help the poor bastard. I was never physically harmed by my father, I didn’t need to be. He looked at me in that dad way and I knew I had to straighten up and fly right.
I am near fifty years old and I still don’t want to disappoint my dad.
The greatest compliment I can ever give myself is “Oh my god, I am turning into my father!”
I love you dad.