Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Happy Father's Day

Everything went smoothly.

I found my dad's current phone number and called him on Wednesday to make plans for Father's Day.  He said to consult my older sister, so I did.  She wanted us to come over to her house, so we met there Sunday for lunch.

The food was great.  Katie had fun playing with some awesome toys my sister, who has an estate sale business, gave her.  I enjoyed talking with my sister who, because of our busy daily lives, I see less often than I'd like to.  But here's the kicker:

Dad was nice.

Seriously.  Sure, he hogged the conversation like he does when he's in a good mood, but at least his stories were, for the most part, pretty funny and upbeat.  Sure, he complained a little about the loneliness of living by himself, but he balanced it with a statement about how he makes it a point to get out and stay active, even if it just means going to the library or going out to eat.  I felt bad for not shoveling his driveway last winter.

But I didn't feel bad the whole time like I used to when I was around my dad.  He didn't criticize me once.  He even asked me how my writing was going, and when I told him I hadn't found an agent and that my first manuscript is sitting at the back of my desk, he just smiled and didn't say anything judgy at all.  It was so weird.  What happened to the man who yelled at me and called me stupid when I told him I was taking a part-time job at the library where he claims I'd never "make any money" as if slinging arts and information isn't a worthy undertaking?  He was not there Sunday at my sister's kitchen table.  This guy was happy.  Grateful to spend an afternoon with his two daughters, his son-in-law who kept golf on the TV all afternoon for him, and his granddaughter who looks so much like how he remembers me when I was her age.

Will had to work, so when he got home I told him about how oddly upbeat my dad had been.  Will said, "Well, I guess that means it's time to forgive him."

"What?  No!  But I don't waaaaant to forgive him," I whined like I really was Katie's age.

And that's just it, my friends.  Forgiveness is not about the other person.  Forgive others for yourself.  When I learn to forgive my dad fully, I'll feel so much better.  Grudges are heavy burdens on my already sagging shoulders.  I've got to learn to let go of past trauma.  We're all here just trying our best.  Even Dad.