My dad seemed to have trouble defining his roles as father and head of the house. He shifted gears a lot. The inconsistency led to blunders on both our parts. Communication was infrequent and stifled. But when we connected, it was special.
Did Dad Like Me?
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.
It all comes down to communication. Make room for it, dads. Phones down, voices up. Let’s talk about it. Happy Father’s Day.