Dads

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Yes it's my honeymoon and yes I only have 5 more days here, but I thought I could take a minute and give an appreciative shout out to the guys on this, their one day of the year. And in case you were wondering, eventually, once I'm back on the mainland, there will be blogs about the wedding and honeymoon, with pictures of both (none containing Slappy, sorry).


I have not had a traditional relationship with my father. He walked out on my mother on their 16th anniversary, got engaged to someone else on their 17th anniversary and was remarried very shortly thereafter. The years prior to him leaving were marred with very large quantities of alcohol, a demon I think he'll alway struggle with some and great unhappiness. I know he'd never put this label on it, but my father has suffered greatly from depression and he almost lost everything for it.

But those imperfections are things that I've tried to leave in the past and not make up a big part of our relationship because those sat between us for a long time and at some point you realize that the past just can't be undone. Do I think what he did was crappy? You betcha and as an 11 year old kid, it felt like the end of the world. But the world kept on turning and now it's 14 years later and a lot of other things have changed greatly.

It wasn't until the past few years that I've grown much closer to my father. His temperament has changed as time has passed. He's a very laid back guy, thinks he's funny, but he cares when something's up. He was the only family member who didn't try to talk me out of brain surgery, he just asked for information so he could learn about it himself. He was the only human being in our universe who didn't make the wedding more difficult. We'd come to him with plans and he'd be supportive, no matter what they were. We'd come to him with concerns and he'd be helpful, no matter what it was. He told us it did not matter where we got married, what he was wearing, what temperature it was outside, if there were FREAKING MARDI GRAS BEADS, or if we had any guests at all, as long as he got to make that walk with me.

He was my beacon throughout the planning process. With The MIL being especially bat-shit crazy the last few weeks, he's the parent I turned to for a little bit of sanity. When I was most stressed at the hotel with my parents (while Slappy was off in Vegas), he's the parent who calmed me down, who righted me and who got me where I needed to be.

My father also embraced Slappy from the moment we began dating. There was never the pre-text of his Judaism like with much of my family, my father just liked him and knew that I did, and that's all that mattered. He supported each step we took, including the move to New Orleans. He twice drove my car out with me, logging thousands of miles and even more wonderful conversations and memories.

And importantly, after being stonewalled and unemotional at my sister's wedding (okay, that might be an exaggeration, he was not teary) he balled like a baby when Slappy spoke at the rehearsal dinner, again during my sister's toast and he sobbed the entire duration of our dance together. After years of wondering about my father's love, I know now, more than ever, how deeply it runs.

We do not have a traditional relationship, but my father has made up, in spades, for the mistakes of his and my youth. He has become the father to me that I most needed at this junction in my life. He will (some day far far far far away) be such a fantastic grandfather and I know that no matter what I do, he is going to be proud of me. Even if it means taking a big leap like leaving teaching. Or taking in debt when we don't have room for it. Because he sees the goal and understands how important it is to me.

Happy Father's Day.

3 comments:

Flea said...

Wow, Katie. I'm always standing a little behind and beside when I read someone's description of their dad and the relationship. Mine didn't come full circle like yours. That was beautiful. In all the insanity, it's so good to hear your dad stands by you no matter what. :)

jojo said...

wow...that was sweet. Glad you two made your way back to one another. There is nothing like that relationship with your dad.

jj

nola said...

It shows a lot of your maturity to have come to terms with your father. Lovely post!