I thought my dad didn’t like me much. My mom was always enthralled by my stories of what happened in school or what my friends were wearing or doing. My dad – well, he’d fall asleep while I prattled on about my day.
He would come home in work clothes dirtied from his labor. He was a welder and that was not white collar work. He would take a shower, have dinner and lay down on the couch and before I could talk to him, he’d be asleep. Seemed there was no time for me.
It was years before I realized, he napped because he was exhausted.
He did hard physical labor every day and his body needed rest, not the chattering of a nine year old consumed with her own world.
But when I did have his attention, it was heaven. I remember being with him on a fishing boat he had won in a raffle. Singing with him as he drove the blue Hudson to the mountains for family picnics in the summer.
Having him stand up for me when I was bullied.
I remember a tearful session where I accused him of never being satisfied with my accomplishments. An A minus was reproached. It could have been an A. He was shocked to hear that I felt unappreciated. He told me how he bragged about my accomplishments. Told friends and relatives how proud he was of me.
But Dad, you forgot to tell ME.