Monday, April 16

My father's daughter

I know a lot of people who try to avoid the inevitable transformation into their parents. People who hear themselves repeating phrases or habits used by their mother or father and cringe at the thought of becoming like them.

I am not one of those people. Maybe sometimes I catch myself saying something that is typical of my mom or dad and roll my eyes....but more often than not, I find myself sort of laughing as I can hear my mother saying - "Just wait until you have kids!" and coming to terms with the fact that yes, I will probably say that to my children as well.

My mom and I, well we have been best friends since I was in the womb I think. I have never seen my mom as "the enemy" as some kids see their parents and I have rarely been afraid to tell her something. When I am stressed, scared or confused, I still long for my mother's arms to be wrapped around me, no matter how far I am from home.

My father and I have not always had this harmonious relationship. Not that I didn't always love him or anything of the sort, but we butted heads. A lot. Mostly when I was in my early adolescence and, as my mother pointed out, mostly because we are so much alike. I used to cringe at this statement because, ugh, no - I am nothing like my father. I am nothing like this man who won't let me go to France at 16 and makes me do my chores before anything else and all the other crazy! unreasonable! things my dad subjected my poor, torturted teenage self.

Have you rolled your eyes yet? Good. I deserve it.

We had our differences and it was easy for me to dismiss him because I was still at the age where I had yet to see my parents as anything BUT my parents. To kids, parents aren't people - they are just mom and dad. You don't consider their lives before you were born, you don't think about the heartache, pain, triumph and achievement they have experienced before and even after you arrived. All you know is - I'm here now - pay attention to meeeeee.

Then one day, you open your eyes and you see people. Two people who fell in love, got married, and had some babies. Two people who struggled and worked tirelessly to make a home, to give you things you needed and even things you didn't need at all. You see a woman who chose a full time job that did not let out at five o'clock, but instead required a round the clock, 24-hour a day schedule with no vacation time, no 401k, no sick time and definitely no stock options. You see a man who at one point worked THREE jobs just to make sure all of his kids wanted for nothing.

I don't remember when my dad and I finally saw eye to eye, but I do remember what it felt like to be proud to have been born to such wonderful parents. My father transformed before my eyes from someone who restricted what I could do and made all kinds of rules for me to live by to someone who protected me, who had spent his life working so that I could be happy.

And the truth is, I am exactly like my father. I am stubborn and opinionated and hard-working. My love for the Red Sox, the outdoors, the weather, and good french toast all came from him. When I have car trouble or need advice on money, jobs, or life, it is without hesitation that I call him. When I revealed to my parents one of the hardest things I have ever had to tell anyone, it is my father who was first to tell me that is was ok, that he would love me no matter what.

He has been travelling all over the country the past few months for a new job and frequently he pops into my head. I wonder where he is at any given moment or what he is doing. I look forward to hearing about his latest excursion and of course discussing the Sox's latest victory (or defeat, the latter being more likely).

I am definitely my father's daughter.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Mom said...

As usual when I think about my daughter, I think....amazing.

Monday, April 16, 2007 2:27:00 PM

 
Anonymous zandria said...

I like this post on parents. I definitely have a different view of my parents than I did when I was growing up. I guess that happens when you're old enough to see them as "real people" rather than just authority figures. :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007 1:14:00 PM

 

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