Here’s the first assignment I had to do for the creative writing class. Keep in mind, this class is really all about pure, brutal honesty, so some of what you see me write here (but by no means all of it) may be more than you ever wanted to know.
Oh yeah… dad, I know you read this occasionally, so I’ll be waiting for your email. Especially in light of our recent converrsation.
“A Father Means Well”
It’s misleading to say that my father and I don’t have a good relationship, but with all the information in-hand, it’s probably the most accurate. We just never communicate on a truly intimate level. I can’t even remember the last time we did, so much time has lapsed since any such conversations we may have had.
One wouldn’t think, looking at the past, that my father and I don’t communicate. For as long as I can remember, he was involved in the lives of my sister and me. When I was very young there were issues involving his abandonment of my mother, but by the time I was of age to realize who he was, he’d come back to us all. In fact, there were periods in which my mother would leave – she not only worked out of town for several days of the month, but she took extended trips to travel Europe as well – where my father would be the only parental figure in my life.
In my youth, all of the things a father should do, mine did. When the truck wouldn’t work, he showed me the ins and outs of hitchhiking, though times have changed too much for it to hold much practicality any longer. Despite the fact that we didn’t have much money, he always figured out which presents I really wanted most for Christmas or birthdays, and by a little cleverness in the method of presentation, I never realized that I’d really only gotten one or two of the things I asked for. It was with my father’s help that I rode my bike for the first time. Camping, fishing, and sledding were all activities that we would share together.
But, time changes all things, and people are no exception. Looking back, I’m sure it was during my teen years in which we took our first steps to the distance we now have. Like many adolescents, I was headstrong, sure of myself, and knew everything. And, as many teens do, I began to shun my parents. Many long hours were spent in bouts of emotional eruption, and I know I broke my father’s trust on more than one occasion.
My mother, always the mediator, was the only thing that saved our sanity many times, and it was her way of reaching each of us that allowed us to see the other’s point of view. Unfortunately, because of this, my father and I never learned to truly communicate. As time passed, we each continued changing without each other, rather than together. I became more liberal, as my father had been in earlier days, and he became more conservative. So much so, that on occasion, he would disallow R rated movies from being shown in the house – this had never been an issue in the past, in fact, one of my first memorable experiences was going to see “The Shining” in the theater with my father.
When I left home at the age of eighteen, we were no closer to resolving our differences of communication than we had been, and the newly gained distance certainly didn’t help. As the years progressed, he would often call, and tell me how much he regretted not being able to take a larger part in my life; that he wished we could talk more about meaningful things. Unfortunately, the next time we saw each other, he fell back into his pattern of “giving me his opinion”, which took the form of telling me how I should be living. He’d made the same mistakes, he said, but now God was “pointing him in the right direction.”
I love my father very much, and when I compare my life with his, the similarities really are amazing. What I think of most though, is that through our lack of communication has come his greatest lesson to me – the lesson of how to communicate.