reappropriate

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Father's Day 2006

Repost: The Sexism of Father's Day The story of my father and I is one of contradictions and conflicts. My dad and I are like two strangers who know each other very well. I love my father, and at the same time, in many ways, I pity him. Other times, I loathe the thought of him and what he has made me into. I know that he is both proud of me and disappointed in me for not being the offspring he wanted (from my gender on down). I know that in the same day, he will crow about my accomplishments and cry himself to sleep thinking about our alienation. It's been a hard realization that everything he has done for and to me is his twisted way of showing me that he only wants the best for me. After a lifetime of seeking fame and fortune, my dad has come to find that he is losing his family, and now that he is on the verge of retirement, he is utterly lonely and terrified of what will happen next. Last night, my father called me, and it was a decent conversation. He had taken a few minutes before a big speech to give me a call, after being disappointed that my sister has stopped answering her phone. We talked about the usual things -- "drink tea", "exercise", "study hard", "don't work too hard" -- but it was nice to hear from him. He spent several minutes nagging me about a long-distance phone service to make it easier to call home. It almost seemed like a normal conversation; it didn't feel hollow. But it rushed back to reality when he reminded me that today was Father's Day. As if I had forgotten, as if he had two children, neither of whom cared enough about him to wish him a good Father's Day. I have tried to forgive my father for what he has said and what he has done to me, and how often he has betrayed my trust in him. I try to remember how it was as a kid when his absenteeism made me idolize him as a distant figurehead, as a respectable and proud man before life chipped away at this veneer. I try to forget the first time I found my father crying on the laundry room floor and I, only eleven, had to console him while my mother raged upstairs. I try to forget all the times my father drank too much at dinner and said what he shouldn't have. I try to forget the many angry times and broken things. But I am afraid that there are too many of those things. I am terrified that I am too angry at him, too betrayed by him, too cognizant of how far from the idolized ideal he is. I am terrified of the day when all of our conflicts will suddenly seem so petty and I will want to tell him all the things I never could. I am terrified of the day my father will no longer be in this world and I will have missed my chance. I am terrified of my own fear of him. I am terrified that I will hate my father the day he skips my wedding, too stubborn to go back on his word. I am terrified that predicting this, I will put the final nail in the coffin by not inviting him in the first place. I want to genuinely like my father very badly and I want him to like me in return. I think, ultimately, his greatest desire is to have me like him, too. We will probably never tell each other all this. I am, after all, my father's daughter: we are both too proud, too stubborn, and our memories are both too long. We have hurt each other too much. We have both spent a lifetime running from our families only to find ourselves lost and unwilling to stop and ask for directions back. We are both only human. Instead, we continue to talk around each other, keeping conversations to the mundane and unimportant to avoid saying what we really feel. Happy Father's Day, Daddy. I love you.

3 Comments:

Blogger Melinda Casino said...

I don't know what to say except that was an incredibly wrenching post.

6/19/2006 01:09:00 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

...wow...

6/19/2006 10:34:00 AM  
Anonymous gatamala said...

Ditto Maria. I don't know what to say.

6/19/2006 12:35:00 PM  

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