From my time on this rotating planet I have never had anything close to a good relationship with my Father. As a child he was never interested in us, unless it was to berate, humiliate or treat in a thousand other miserable ways.
To be perfectly truthful I don’t actually have any pleasant memories of him, but I can immediately bring to mind a dozen painful memories. He was always so embarassed
that his oldest child was a poof, a fag, queer, but hey we all have our crosses to bear, right?
Eight years ago, my Mom passed unexpectedly, and his world shattered around him. He hid in his bedroom when he was upset, tearful or just felt any other emotion other than anger. My siblings and I sorted the funeral, meeting people. We sorted her clothes into trash bags to take to the charity shop, he never even looked at any of them. Her jewellery and anything else she valued he told us to divide. He never even looked at anything, not jewellery, not picture not a damn thing.
Bizarrely for the next year I would be there every night to make his dinner when he came home. I always remembered older family members saying how hard it is to come home to an empty house or one without lights on. Time marches on and everyone muddles their way through. This was all new territory to us. So now eight years on we all muddle through. We can stand the occasional meals together and I have been assigned a new role of his medical / emotional needs. So if he’s feeling lonely I am meant to use a crystal ball and figure it out and then of course work out how to fix it. When he spends money on gifts that no one really knows what to do with or that aren’t of any use, I have to make it better, or tell them the response he’s looking for, kinda messed up eh?
Recently I got a new puppy. I am single, answer to no one but me so saying yes to a puppy was the new challenge I needed, I had just put to sleep one of my older dogs leaving me with a single dog, who I knew would not settle being an only dog. It all seemed to happen at the right time for all the right reasons.
My Father is absolutely terrified of dogs, whether they’re 2 lbs or 100 lbs. Remember this little factoid.
Well this new puppy is 10 months old. Chews anything she decides might taste interesting. Loves to run at faster than a speeding bullet all while looking like she came out of the movie Gremlins. Lets just say, the mixture of breeds she is, has left her with a face only a Mother could love. She has established herself at Doggy Daycare and albeit she weighs 5 pound wet, she runs the pack. She is a pain in the butt for my older dog, but she also cuddles up to her. She is hell on 4 paws, she frustrates me, makes me laugh and loves me with her crooked grin. Why am I telling you about this whirling dervish? I tell you because my Father adores the ground her paws walk on. Ironic eh?
He could care less than I own an amazing, cute, talented older gal, who loves cuddles, loves chicken and adores the days the puppy is at Doggy daycare!
I hate he makes a difference. I know they aren’t kids, I understand that all to well but they are as important to me as kids, and I love them BOTH. I chose them for as long as they are on this earth alive they are mine.
Tonight, my Dear old Daddy wanted to watch a parade, but instead of just saying that. He decided that WE should watch the parade together as well as taking the puppy. After all it would be the best opportunity for her to experience it. I’ll pause here to allow the look of disbelief to leave your face.
Suddenly my mind is spinning………… DO I allow him to dictate?
What if the puppy freaks out from the noise or people?
What if my Father loses his temper at the puppy?
Setting aside the feeling of dread in my stomach at the idea of my Father being in my home or ‘safe space’
I knew I had no option but to let him plod along, thinking he was being the bigger man spending time with his gay Daughter, all for the good of this puppy. The entire time I felt as if I was riding a bull through a field of explosives. The puppy survived, the fistful of treats I had helped ease that process. It was all over in less than a hour, but sitting here now I feel as if I have ran a marathon. My dogs are both asleep and chasing rabbits in their field of dreams. I am sitting here 5am wondering what the hell just happened?
Did I take the path of least resistance? Or did I fold like a cheap poker hand?
I’m wondering if I react to this man as the scared child I once was or as the mature adult who knows he’s an old, lonely man who in some way is trying to be a better man?
The wounded part of my soul tells me to reinforce the walls. Not to see the glimmer of good or hope. The adult part of me, the Youth Leader part of me tells me to see what happens. Just see where it goes. Worse case scenario he’ll screw up, best case scenario he’ll surprise me and everyone else.
It’s now 5.16am and I don’t know the answer, perhaps I will never know the right path. I know as hard as it is not to collapse into quivering heap of jelly around him, I know the scars I carry from this man will keep my therapist in a job for life.
Tonight I will cuddle both my babies, and dream of a less complicated tomorrow. With less questions and more clarity. The sun is rising from his stupor and I hope I can find a little peace to find mine