“Dad”

I was 14 when my father died. He was a complicated man, my dad – difficult to get close to. I remember having a close relationship with him when I was very young – under five – but it was like as I got more emotionally complicated (as all people do) he began pulling away more and more. At the time I didn’t understand it. Being a kid, I blamed myself, and added it to the “things I’ve done wrong” column. As an adult I am able to see  things a little differently – that the distance that grew in our relationship was more about his own limitations and vulnerabilities. I’ll be honest – it still hurts, even having come to this realization.

I’ve forgiven my dad for not being able to be the father that I’ve always wanted…but there has always been this noticeable gap in my life. In a lot of ways, I’ve been looking for a father figure in my life. I honestly think it was this need that allowed me to fall into the relationship I had with my ex husband; I’ve written before about how, in many ways, it was like he was the parent and I was the child.

In a marriage, that just doesn’t work.

I’ve had several long term romantic relationships in my life, and while I’ve gotten to know all of my “father-in-laws”, I’ve never felt close to any of them. At best I tolerated them and rolled my eyes at their idiosyncrasies; at worse, I’ve actively disliked them and dreaded spending any sort of time with them.

My first big job out of University had me working for an older gentleman who had a bit of a reputation for being difficult to work for. I actually never had any problems with him; there was a bit of a father-daughter vibe there that brought me a certain amount of security. When I decided to quit that job to be a stay-at-home mom I always felt in a way like I disappointed him somehow.

But other than this, I honestly have felt like there has been a missing element in my life when it came to older male role models. There was always an emptiness in this area of my life. For some people it wouldn’t have mattered; but for me, it always has.

Enter CBG’s dad.

I knew I liked him the very first time I met him. He’s friendly, outgoing and speaks his mind – a quality that I admire in people. He has a bit of a gruff exterior but it’s to hide the emotional vulnerability underneath. He’s got a good sense of humour and is easy to talk to.

As CBG wrote about yesterday, last week gave the two of us the opportunity to get a lot closer. I came to see how much he loved and adored his wife; how dedicated he was to her. His heartbreak at her passing was palpable. I knew that I couldn’t take that pain away, but I did my best to be the support he needed to help make it through the week. I sat next to him. I listened when he talked. I hugged him every chance I got. I held his hand during CBG’s eulogy. I let him grieve.

And I’ll be honest…part of my motivation for doing that was entirely selfish. Being there and being in his life and being able to help and support him filled that hole that’s been in my heart pretty much my entire life. I love it when he calls me “Kiddo” and gives me crap about finalizing my divorce. I love it when he teases me and makes me laugh. I love that he makes me huge pots of coffee and spoils me with the little things.

He’s told people that I’m like the daughter he’s always wanted...and the truth is, he’s the dad that I’ve always wanted. And I couldn’t feel more completely and utterly grateful. This is just another one of those things in my life that is finally falling into place. I can now add to my family the dad that I’ve been looking for my whole life.

Life just keeps getting better.

10 Responses

  1. Between you & CBG, I can’t start the day w/o shedding a few tears. Beautifully written.

  2. My family is so very lucky to have you and your beautiful girls in our lives. I couldn’t be more thankful.

    xox

  3. As a child growing up, my dad was gruff, unsentimental, impatient and strict. frankly I was scared of him. He told me that he loved me for the first time when I was 18. Since I became a mom he then softened, and became one of my best friends. We always had each other’s backs, and we stood up for each other. I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose him during a time when things weren’t so loving, like when I was a teenager. I think i would be searching all my life for that missing figure too. Instead, he passed away almost a year ago (next week is the anniversary), and I miss him and his support and I long for him to be back in my life as a living person. My most difficult loss to date. I am sure that your dad would be very proud of you, and like everyone else, I am very happy that your family is ever-expanding into CBGs!

    • I was scared of my dad growing up, too. I always wanted a different kind of relationship with him, but given his issues, mine, and my age, it just wasn’t possible.

      I’m glad that you were able to re-kindle your relationship with your dad before he passed.

  4. Yeah, my dad & I had the complicated relationship too. Now that he’s gone, I think I long for the dad I wished he was.

    Anyway, don’t you love it when you feel like you’re being selfish but the other party feels like they’re being selfish too? Then it works out that you’re each providing exactly what the other needs?!?

    I love that.

    • We’ve definitely got a good thing going on where we’re meeting each other’s needs and it’s beneficial to everyone involved. 🙂 Gotta love it when that happens, indeed.

  5. as a woman who grew up without a father (and always desperately wanting one), this had me in tears.

  6. Awwww…you are lucky. So is CBG’s dad. I’m glad you both have found this relationship. I want to someday be close with in-laws.

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