Tag Archives: dad

Over the weekend …

I had a total bipolar meltdown on my dad.

He was, at first, completely blindsided, and then perplexed.

I usually meltdown on my mom, who knows to just let it ride until the event is over.

But she wasn’t there and I was melting down in real time.

I think it was good for him, my Dad, that is, to see me as I have a propensity to be.

Totally crazy, on the edge of straight-jacket territory.

A mess.

I try to shield him from this side of me, because, well, at the risk of starting a riot, he is my dad and is, with abject certainty, a man.

Men rarely understand the astounding psyche of women.

Don’t roll your eyes and pretend to be insulted.

We know that maneuver.

Add bipolar to the mix and a total discombobulation takes over.

I love my Dad.

He is my, second only to Jesus and third to John Robert (who is dead, by the way), my hero.

A man who’s integrity I would bet my last dime on.

But he isn’t my mom.

He wants desperately to pat me on the head and tell me all is ok.

All is not okay.

I’M HAVING A MELTDOWN, WHERE IS MY MOTHER?

In my own defense, I didn’t say that.

I wanted to, but felt the ramifications would skew the effort to find out WHERE THE HELL my mom was.

So I cried, sobbed, made little sense while blindly clinging to my Dad.

I seriously doubt he will
ever be quite the same.

It’s a bit, I suppose, like trying raw oysters.

It sounds gross, but the rewards … well, they, by spades, outweigh the risks.

I hope, some day, to eat raw oysters with my dad.

A small, and yet ambiguous dream.

He hugged me while I was sobbing incoherently and told me he loved me, no matter what.

Major points for that.

Major.

Points.

Major.

Advertisements

Sometimes dad is just a word

I look at my beautiful, grown, college attending daughter and I can scarcely believe that she is mine.  A blessing she is, with a big and seeking heart, brains and a musical talent that I can say, without reservations, she did not get from me.  Her life, in the grand scheme of things, is just beginning and she is on the cusp of adulthood.  But her journey to get here wasn’t an easy one.  She has faced many obstacles in her short time on earth, each one causing what could have been life-shattering circumstances.  But, like the Phoenix, she continued to rise above that which threatened to consume her.  When she was only four, her dad walked out and never looked back.  She was a senior in high school when she next heard from him.  To his credit, he came to her high school graduation, but that is a small consolation when considering all he has missed, and inconsequential in the formation of the astounding person she has become.

As often happens with people, especially children, when they haven’t seen someone in a very long time, she was expecting something amazing.  I guess in her mind, he would still be young, strong and the daddy she so adored.  Instead, she found an older man who was a complete stranger to her.  There was nothing to talk about.  There were no birthdays to reminisce about, no past Christmases to remember and no bond between father and daughter to hold them together. They had nothing, other than blood, to connect them.  While she tried to make small talk and get to know this stranger, the years between the last time she saw him and the present became a chasm that was too wide to cross.  If there had been a desire to cross it, it could have been navigated, but that desire to reconcile must work both ways.  Sometimes, all you can do is let it go.

It is impossible to write this post without thinking of my own dad.  He who worked his whole life just so myself, my sister and my mom could have a better life.  There were summer vacations, surprise Christmas presents, Sunday mornings in church, trips to the lake, rides on the boat, love and punishment meted out fairly and the knowledge that this wonderful, strong man would be there, no matter what.  He didn’t stop there, though.  He became a surrogate father to my girl, giving her the male influence that she otherwise would have not had.  He cheered her on and supported her, grinning just as big as the rest of us at every accomplishment.

When I look at my dad now, surrounded by his grandchildren that bring him immeasurable joy, I think how different life would have been if he had not been such a integral part of it.  My heart goes out to children all of the world who have had to grow up in a fatherless home with the weight of the knowledge that he isn’t there because they just weren’t enough to make him want to stay.  Some of them will overcome the obstacles and others will join the ranks of addicts, criminals and the overwhelmingly confused.  I am one of the lucky ones and I thank God that I had a father who stuck around even though there were likely times when all he wanted to do was run away.  Seeing what I see and knowing what I know, I congratulate and encourage dads everywhere who stick around because their kids are worth it.  I can promise, based on my own experiences and those I watched my baby go through, it may be hard but in the end, it will absolutely be worth it.

The biological father of my daughter wasn’t, when all was said and done, a bad person, but he was, without doubt, a bad father.  He’s not the only one and he certainly won’t be the last one.  It just goes to show that sometimes, dad is just a word.

Just a short walk

Earlier tonight, i commented on a post by Janet… she had told of helping her older neighbors by walking their dog… that’s all i know about the entire thing, but it planted a seed in my head and the words just tumbled out, almost faster than I could write them… and my Father showed me a morning with my dad, when he was older and more feeble… anyone who knows him will recognize him… and anyone who doesn’t know him personally will recognize him… because his generation is everywhere…  we just usually choose not to see it… Father, help me treat others as I want my parents to be treated… with love and compassion, help and healing, conversation and company… let me serve you, LORD…. Anyway, without the Holy Spirit, my words alone cant possibly do it justice, so, if you’re willing, whether you believe in it or not, try to see it through the eyes of the spirit… here goes…
The wind rattled his bones just as hard as it rattled the windows, the shingles, the siding and the half-broken porch swing, dangling by one chain, that he just wasn’t able to fix.  Not thinking about the things he could no longer do… at least trying not to think about them, he took a deep breath and began the process of getting out of bed.  What, once upon a few decades ago, would have been quick and easy was now slow and painful.  He had tried looking at getting up in the morning like yanking off a bandage… quick and painful, but over soon… well, it wasn’t quick, but it was painful… and the soreness lasted for three days… so he’d stuck to slow and easy so he could get downstairs to breakfast.  He looked at his wife, still sleeping, and thought of how different it used to be… how more able he was to protect her and take care of her… of course that didn’t diminish his love and devotion to her… she was a strong and steady force in his life and he knew he didn’t want to live without her and selfishly, yet shamelessly, prayed, as he had ever since he laid eyes on her,  that he would go first…  he shook his head, a habit he’d picked up along the way, and took his first unsteady steps of the morning and went in the direction of the bathroom to wash his face and stuff before he went downstairs for the day.  He thought of the bathroom downstairs by the kitchen and remembered toying with the idea of expanding it into a full size bath.. of thinking how convenient it would be… he went back down the hall, passing his bedroom on the way and noticed that she had turned over… knowing she would be up soon and looking for some coffee, he made his way down the stairs, looking out over the foggy meadow toward the road… beautiful, he thought… he moved into the kitchen, glancing, as he put the kettle on to heat, toward the tiny, useless bathroom… but that was a long time ago and he couldn’t do it now even if he still wanted to… and that galled him some, still.  That, even though he does want to, he wants to very badly, he can’t…  he stirred cream into his coffee, then looked toward the stairs to make sure Flo wasn’t there, then put extra.. he sipped and sighed, then went back to his thoughts… he can’t expand the bathroom, he can’t fix the roof, he can’t mow the yard, he can’t drive… he can barely walk, even on level ground… sometimes, where his garden used to grow, he stands and gazes toward the mountain… longing to walk a ways so he can feel the breath of the wind on his face that he can’t get here on this flat ground… shaking his head,  he turned toward the east window and watched the day burst open… nothing he can do with it now anyway… he’s just too old… he feels the depression, always just a breath away, threatening to swallow him if he’ll just give in… but give in?  no way…  he’ll be there as long as his time lasts.. and when he’s done, he’ll go to Heaven… he’s never doubted that… no, he murmurs to himself, he’d never doubted that, but he also hadn’t looked ahead to reality… to becoming feeble… he just wished he were stronger… like in the old days…  But, there was trouble in the days of strength, as there is with anytime… and as he stood in the kitchen with the light of the sunrise pouring into the window, he realized that, though his body is weaker, his mind, his heart and his spirit are stronger than ever… He nods at the day and walks through the house toward the front door.  He heard the first bang of the hammer as he opened the screened door and walked onto the porch…  he heard the footsteps overhead as his roof was repaired before winter… he wasn’t able and he wasn’t rich… and God, faithful God, had, as always, provided… He thanked Him for the young men who lived nearby and had offered to do some work around the house… they were photographers and were willing to trade mountain time for hard labor… to help him and his wife  It was, he realized as he listened to the good-natured banter of youth, a good day to walk… just a little ways… into the mountain… he yanked on the new chain on the porch swing, now hanging sturdy and straight,as he opened the screened door then went back in the kitchen, fixed two cups of coffee, both with just a touch of cream, and creaked his way back up the stairs to see if his wife was up to a walk…  just a short walk, of course…