Clearly, I’m feeling a little homesick tonight. Right after I write about having writer’s block, I go on to write two more blogs about my parents. This subject material comes easy though. Talking about the love I have for my Mom and Dad comes as naturally as breathing.
I couldn’t help but feel compelled to write about my Dad seeing as I just wrote about my Mom. It’s not because I feel he would be left out, my Dad often chooses to leave the room when my Mom and I start talking knowing he won’t likely get a word in any way. That, or I’ll talk about my period or weight gain, things he just really doesn’t care too much about to hear. Writing about my Dad is definitely different from writing about my Mom because we have a different relationship. My Dad is what I would consider, a pretty traditional Dad. He worked, hard, to support his family right up until a few years ago. His success came from years of long days and sleepless nights. Luckily, with his risks came great rewards and I’m happy to see him comfortably retired.
Growing up, my Dad worked, a lot. He was determined to be successful. I think a lot of my hard-headedness comes from him. That and my ridiculous, borderline frightening, goofy alter-ego. My Dad’s nickname is Label and there have been many times where my actions have been regarded as “Label’s daughter” actions. I have him to thank for always have an excuse as to why I’m a weirdo. My Dad did regular Dad stuff too, he taught me how to fish and how to ride a bike, he facilitated a love for sports and the outdoors. He was also the disciplinary figure. Sure, my Mom spanked me, but I knew I was in for some serious shit if she uttered the words, “you just wait until your Father gets home”. Like the time I ran away from home when I was 8 with full intentions on living in in the slide at the park. My Dad was out looking for me when my sister found me and brought me home. Those words were never spoken more true and needless to say, I never ran away from home again. My Dad never imposed too much on my life, only some stern conversations when I made some pretty stupid decisions. He welcomed me with open arms every time I moved back home (4 times) and didn’t complain too much when I hauled most of my belongings back with me to re-clutter his basement.
There was a period of time when I felt I didn’t know my Dad. He’s a caring and loving person, he gives tight hugs and always calls me “sweetheart”, but he never talks too much about his feelings. Maybe it’s because I’ve never asked. I’ve always felt like there was this fine line I never crossed with him, like the questioning and inquisitions would eventually reach a point where it was no longer my business. But as I grow older, I feel like there’s so much I still need to learn from him and so much I want to know about him. I don’t recall too many points in my life where my Dad got real deep, but I do have clear and distinct memories of times I knew that his love was unconditional. Like the time I decided to drop out of softball because I totally lacked the confidence to keep playing. I wasted his time and money after only committing to a few games before calling it quits. A couple of days later, I remember he told me that if I wanted to play again the following year, I could. For some reason, I’ve never forgotten that. It was one of those moments when I could really feel his love and support. Then there were the silent moments. Like the time I moved to Toronto and felt like he barely talked to me in the 4 months I was home aside from telling me that I seriously needed to clean out all of the shit I had piled in the basement. At the time, I couldn’t believe that he cared more about me moving my stuff than me actually moving. It wasn’t until my Mom slipped up and told me he were worried about me that I understood his silence.
My Dad put a roof over my head (the same roof, having the luxury of always getting to go home to the home I grew up in), he kept me fed, he gave me a t.v. for my 13th birthday, he bought me a car when I turned 16, then another, and another. He put me through University, bought me furniture and agreed to buy miscellaneous items like a treadmill when I needed cash. Though my Dad provided, he also instilled in me a very strong sense of the importance of earning things. A lot of the times when I’ve been forced to figure things out of myself, I know that it’s my Dad’s influence that helps me to persevere.
When Mom got sick, I felt our distance. Those were some of the hardest years of my life. I felt so completely lost and confused. But the years following, right up until today, I see the love and admiration you two have for each other and it fills my heart up. I only hope that my marriage can be as strong, loving and long-lasting as yours. I tattooed your rings and initials on my wrist as a constant reminder of the love I have in my life. I feel this deep need to make you proud, Dad. I want you to know that all of your hard work and all of the sacrifices you made for me were worth it. I want you see the feisty woman I’ve become and be able to say, “that’s my daughter” with a smile. I want you to know that whenever I hear the Eagles on the radio, I think of you. I feel confident and strong as a woman because I had you to teach me. When I tell my friends about you, I do it with so much love, knowing full well how lucky and fortunate I am to call you Dad (aka, Papa Ken).