Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Opps, I did it again. I let my hopes build up again, and I've been let down again. And really, it is my own fault. I know that I've had a good life, and I was blessed with a happy childhood. Still, I feel something missing in my relationship with my dad. He worked hard and long, and my mom raised me pretty much alone. He was never the type to take me out to play or spend much quality time. When he was there, though, he was a kind and loving father. As I got older, it was harder for him to relate to me, I guess. I idealized him and always tried to please him, but I never seemed to be able to make him proud enough.
After I got married, it took me awhile to stop turning to him and wanting him to fix everything for me. He was a contractor and a grader, so I always wanted him to help us when something came up. I still crave that attention from him and quality time with him. I still want to force him into the pretty little "family" mold that I have in my head. When we decided to finish the basement of our house; he agreed to help us. He came over and rerouted the stairs the way I wanted them. Then I waited, and waited and waited, and he never came back. He would avoid the question and refused to give me any idea when we could get started again. "I'll do it when I'm good and ready." Well, I can't argue with that. He won't let us pay him, so we can't exactly complain. We finally hired someone else to do it, and he was probably relieved.
The recent tornado left us with some damage. I called my dad on Monday morning, and he chuckled as if he had been expecting me. He came right over, and he and his help spent all day patching my roof. They were pleasant and outgoing. I loved having him here, and I went back to my la-la land that we were the closest daddy-daughter and we were gonna work together. He even asked about my friend down the road and went to her house to fix her trampoline. He left with the understanding that they would return to fix the flashing on the house; heck, he even left his ladder. That was 9 days ago. I've called him twice, and I realize now that he's not coming. What he said yesterday is that he's on another job. Okay, I think, that makes sense. So I ask if he can give me an idea of when to expect him. "I don't know, baby, it may be tomorrow, and it may be in three weeks. Call somebody else if you want to." I finally realize that he wants me to call somebody else. He doesn't want to deal with it. And there is nothing wrong with that. What has me sad is the bigger picture. We are never gonna "hang out." He isn't gonna invite my family for dinner or even accept my many offers to have dinner here. He didn't even eat during the Christmas dinner that I've begun insisting that I host here. He's just not that guy.
I think that is why I feel so sentimental when I see my husband with our children. He is that guy. He is the kind of dad that I still want for myself. He even knows me well enough to know why I was putting off calling another contractor to get this work done. I was waiting on my daddy to rescue me. He provided support in his strong, subtle way, and he was there to catch me, again, when I fell. I woke up today and called my neighbor (a contractor), and he was glad to help. Oh,here's the irony: he was trained by my dad. And guess what he says? "I love your dad. He's a great man, and he was an excellent builder." "Yeah, I know," I say, as I swell up again with pride and love for the man I will never truly know.